The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is a mecca for gardeners and flower lovers. The 14-acre Garden blooms with over 35,000 bushes displaying approximately 500 varieties of roses. A Municipal Garden of this scope requires an approximate five percent replanting each year to maintain the garden's lush, vibrant appeal. All are manicured to perfection for the annual Rose Festival.
The Rose Garden is strongly supported by donation of rose bushes from local and national rose growers. Local growers have been a mainstay of support for the Garden and for international rose research for many years. In 1946, rose industry leaders founded the Texas Rose Research Foundation in Tyler to conduct intensive research on rose diseases and enhance plant propagation. The results of Foundation research contribute to the strength of the local rose industry today. Over one-half of all commercial rose bushes marketed annually in the United States are packaged and shipped from Smith County.
Since its opening in 1952, the Municipal Rose Garden has brought Tyler critical acclaim nationwide as it caters to both the home gardener and the horticulturist. It is more than just a popular attraction, as it is both a display garden and a trial garden. Many of the vivid floral displays are also test areas for new rose varieties.
Tyler's All-America Rose Selection (AARS) trial garden is one of only 24 throughout the country. Roses in the AARS trial garden are evaluated over a two-year period and must be varieties not previously introduced in the United States. Roses that pass the test and become patented are planted in the Tyler Rose Garden and designated as AARS award winners.
The roses are tested for vigor, flower characteristics and disease resistance. Following a two-year test period, the best of the group are recommended as superior new rose introductions. Thus, visitors to the Rose Garden are seeing the "best of the best." This year-round research has attracted rosarians and rose hybridizers from the world over to the City of Tyler. Significant results have come about through these AARS trials.
Throughout its history, the Rose Garden has been linked to the rose industry. The year 1946 marked an important development in the industry with the formation of the Texas Rose Research Foundation in Tyler. The Foundation hired as its director Dr. Eldon W. Lyle, a plant pathologist from Cornell University and one of the nation's foremost specialists in rose research. The East Texas rose growers who sponsored the Foundation had a goal of producing the highest quality roses in the industry. Dr. Lyle proceeded to conduct intensive research on rose diseases and utilized local rose fields to test treatments for black spot fungus. As a result, his discoveries benefited the rose industry and rosarians nationwide.
Today, the 14-acre Rose Garden has something for everyone. A favorite of many visitors is the one-acre Heritage Rose and Sensory Garden, which has antique rose varieties that date back to 1867. This popular section is located in the southwest corner of the Garden and contains over 30 varieties of 19th century garden roses. The Heritage Garden also features a perennial border demonstrating plants that combine well with roses.
Located in the southeast corner of the Garden, the award-winning IDEA Garden offers a tranquil setting, designed for the serious gardener seeking new ideas and for the enjoyment of the casual visitor. The 90 varieties of flowers, trees, shrubs, and plants.
Other attractions of note are the Vance Burks Memorial Camellia Garden, the Edna Lankart Daylily Collection and the Meditation Garden near the reflection pools.
A Municipal Garden of this scope requires an approximate five percent replanting each year. This keeps the Garden current and informs the public of plants that can be successfully used in the area. The Rose Garden is strongly supported by donations of rose bushes from local and national rose growers. Among these are the newest varieties from nurseries in Texas, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and California.
After Labor Day, rose bushes are pruned to produce new blooms for the Texas Rose Festival, so it is advisable to call in September to check the status of blooms. Also, please note that periodic closings of the Rose Garden are necessary for treatment of pests and plant diseases.
In mid-October, the Rose Garden Center becomes the focal point for Tyler's four-day "Rose Show" that is part of the annual Texas Rose Festival. Also, the Rose Garden is the site of the popular Queen's Tea, which is held during the Festival. The Tea is an elaborate garden party for the entire community to enjoy. Thousands of visitors enjoy refreshments and meet the Queen and members of her Court in an enchanting outdoor setting.