Free, Pretty, and Close: Rose Garden at The Woodland Park Zoo

For a pleasant stroll in a pretty place, you can travel about eight blocks from the inn to the Rose Garden at the Woodland Park Zoo. Adjacent to the zoo’s south parking lot, the garden entrance is free and open daily from 7:30 a.m. to dusk. The Rose Garden features more than 200 varieties that will interest the casual admirer to the expert gardener.

You’ll find wide paths to traverse at a leisurely pace, as well as many places to rest – benches interspersed along the paths, a gazebo, and a sculptured seating area. Water features and gazing pools add a timelessness to the garden. All offer a pleasant view and an ideal place to have a snack or a brown-bag lunch.

The Rose Garden provides an educational experience too – demonstrating natural gardening practices such as building healthy soils, planning right for the site, smart watering, and alternatives to pesticides.

Each rose bed has name plates that identify the roses. For the uninitiated, here is a quick cheat sheet for some of the varieties:

  • Gallica is of the old rose class. It was the symbol of the house of Lancaster in the War of the Roses in the 1400s. Flower is single or double.
  • Alba roses have been cultivated since the middle ages. They are a natural hybrid of Gallica and a Mediterranean species called Rosa Canina. Alba is a ymbol of the house of York in England’s War of the Roses. Flower is semi-doubled to very doubled.
  • Hybrid Perpetual is a complex older hybrid. Its ancestry includes Chinas, Bourbons, Portlands, and Noisettes, which are in the old rose class, some date back perhaps 5,000 years. Flowers are very doubled.
  • Hybrid Tea is a cross between older tea roses and hybrid perpetuals, introduced in the 1860s. Flowers are single to very doubled.
  • Polyantha roses have small flowers in a clustered form. They were bred in the 1870s by crossbreeding wild roses. Flowers are single or doubled.
  • Floribunda rose bushes have clusters of flowers and continually bloom throughout the season. Floribundas came about by crossing polyantha roses with hybrid tea roses. Flowers are doubled to rich very doubled.
  • Grandiflora is the newest class of roses, introduced in the 1950s. Grandifloras can grow up to 10 feet tall. They are a cross between hybrid teas and floribundas. Flowers are large doubled.

The terms; single, doubled, very doubled and rich very doubled indicate how many layers of petals there are on the rose. Some roses have more than 100 petals.

There are no restrooms at the Rose Garden, but at the zoo entrance just 100 feet away you can leave your ID at the ticket kiosk and use the restroom.

Blog entry contributed by Dawnelle Spaccoratelli, who has helped us keep the yard at 9 Cranes Inn presentable.

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