The Rose Garden

A yellow rose in the foreground of the rose garden with red and pink roses in the background

The rose garden at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park sits at the western edge of the formal gardens and is one of our most popular points of interest in the park.  It is designed as a grand circle of 3000 square feet with ten beds of roses, each containing a unique variety of rose.  The ten beds of roses form concentric rings reaching a common center laid out in a red brick sunburst pattern.  It is the largest public rose garden along the Florida coast, with an average of 150 rose bushes blooming. 

Rose at Washington Oaks

Within the garden visitors are surrounded by blossoms of pinks, golds, creams, and dark red hues with velvety textures. Eight-foot-high rose canes can be seen there topped with blooms that first open crimson and mature into a soft yellow. Fanciful names such as “Dream Come True,” “Belinda’s Dream,” and “Gold Medal” identify the differing varieties of these hybrid tea roses. 

Rose at Washington Oaks

Getting Oriented

Upon first entering the rose garden, visitors are invited to search for the brick sunburst pattern, which is the central point. Be sure to close your eyes and smell the roses!  Rose scent varies with the time of day and the early morning is when scents are strongest. The ten rose varieties range from exceptionally fragrant to no scent at all.  Visitors are encouraged to stop at each rose bed to enjoy the abundance of colors and perfumes.  Be sure to look down as you stroll to take note of the bricks making up the garden pathways. Having a brick engraved and placed into our rose garden is a wonderful way to support the park and leave your mark.  Because of its' beauty and spectacular surroundings, the rose garden is also our most popular location for brides to walk through as they make their way to their wedding ceremony in the gardens. 

Best Times to Go

The beginning of May is when the roses are at their most spectacular, the time when the first blossoms appear and there are over a thousand dazzling blooms within the garden. The roses continue to bloom vigorously throughout the summer, and we recommend visiting in the morning or late afternoon. Roses prefer full sun and there is no shade within the garden. Although the roses prefer full sun, roses do not like humidity, so growing roses year-round in Florida can be challenging!  Fall and winter are pleasant times to visit with the cooler weather and there are still many blooms to be seen, but the roses do need a dormant period and are cut back by half in February. March and part of April are resting months for the roses when they gather their energy in anticipation of the blooms to come.  

We look forward to seeing you in the gardens, and do hope you can stop and smell the roses!