11 of the Most Dazzling Public Midwest Rose Gardens
Starting in late spring, public rose gardens throughout the Midwest put on a show, inspiring avid gardeners and nature enthusiasts with their vivid displays of color and beauty. These 11 gardens are beloved for their rich history and variety.
Rose Garden at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison
This two-acre, prairie-style garden blends roses with perennials, ornamental grasses, shrubs, trees and annuals. Climb the 30-foot Rose Garden Tower for dramatic overviews.
Krasberg Rose Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois
A rose-shaped fountain bubbles amid 5,000-plus Midwest-friendly roses at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Gardeners will find many ideas for planting companions.
Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
Iowa State's Griffith Buck was a pioneer in breeding carefree, cold-tolerant roses. The low-maintenance formal garden features dozens of his varieties, plus perennial pairing ideas.
Park of Roses in Whetstone Park, Columbus, Ohio
More than 12,000 roses carpet one of the country's largest public rose gardens with more than 400 rose varieties from some of the oldest heritage types to the newest hybrids. Founded in 1953, the 13-acre park is an accredited arboretum and features an Italianate rose garden, a heritage rose garden, a backyard garden, and herb and perennial gardens.
Rose Garden at Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Des Moines
At the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, the Wells Fargo Rose Garden, a modern front-yard potager, features a collection of shrub roses seasonally interplanted with herbs and edibles. The rose collection highlights a number of varieties developed by the late Iowa State University horticulture professor Dr. Griffith Buck and other contemporary cultivars that thrive in Midwest conditions.
Nan Elliott Memorial Rose Garden, Alton, Illinois
The Nan Elliott Memorial Rose Garden is a garden jewel among the sports fields at Gordon Moore Community Park. Completed in 1980, the one-acre garden includes 1,600 roses and 150 varieties. The garden is also home to a carillon, which plays every half hour; carillon concerts are every Sunday at 5 p.m. through the summer.
Cantigny Rose Garden, Wheaton, Illinois
Cantigny Park was the former 500-acre estate of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The estate was named after Cantigny, the French village where McCormick commanded an artillery battalion in 1918 as a member of the U.S. Army's First Division. The Chicago Peace Rose, pictured here, was discovered on the estate and is part of the rose garden's collection of some 50 rose varieties.
Rose Gardens at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
Roses were special to the late Henry Shaw, the founder of this renowned, 164-year-old garden. Today, two rose displays are filled with more than 1,500 roses and 250 varieties. The Gladney Rose Garden, created in 1917, houses many old garden roses arranged in a giant wheel pattern. The newer Anne and John Lehmann Rose Garden is less formal and features floribunda and shrub roses with popular fountains and pools.
Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden, Kansas City, Missouri
This historic 1.5-acre rose garden was originally established by the Kansas City Rose Society and designed in a circular fashion in 1931 by local landscape design firm Hare & Hare. The gardens were recently restored and now feature a central fountain, 66 stone pillars and 3,000 roses including 130 varieties.
Robert H. Storz Family Rose Garden at Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha
Dedicated in 1997, this formal garden is planted with 2,000 roses including hybrid tea, grandiflora, floribunda, climbing and shrub roses. An armillary sphere sundial adorns the center of the garden and was designed by Nebraska artist Milt Heinrich.
Related: Top Things to Do in Omaha
Reinisch Rose Garden, Topeka, Kansas
The Reinisch Rose Garden features 4,500 roses and 180 varieties. The garden includes both newly released rose varieties and numerous unusual varieties no longer commercially available. The garden project was instigated in 1926 by Topeka's first landscape architect and horticulturist, E. F.A. Reinisch, then completed by the Topeka Horticulture Society in 1930 following Reinisch's death the previous year. The garden was designed by Chicago landscape architect Emmett Hill and landscape gardener L.R. Quinlan of Kansas State Agriculture College.