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Wednesday, June 14, 2023

A Month For Roses

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American Rose Society cultivates a variety of events

June has busted out all over, especially in America's rose gardens, making it a very special month for Shreveport's American Rose Society (ARS) headquarters.

"It's just a beautiful month for roses," American Rose Society President Diane Sommers said. "In many parts of the country June is where those first blooms are coming to be, end of May, early June."

So, the ARS is cultivating a month of events to honor the rose and its enthusiasts. ARS is a national non-profit organization founded in 1892 focused exclusively on the culture, appreciation and preservation of roses.

"We have members in every state of the country," Sommers said. "We have people that grow them in Alaska. We have people that grow them in Arizona. In the northern climates, June is a big month."

Across the country, members host rose shows and educational seminars, maintain public gardens and support research on the newest and disease-resistant varieties of rose. They even grow arrangements and flowers for hundreds of local events and share their enthusiasm and knowledge of rose gardening.

Locally, the roses have not hit their stride, Sommers admitted, but she said, "we do encourage people to come out to the center at any time. I think it's a beautiful place. It's someplace that everyone in the community can enjoy. And to see our roses at different seasons."

Right now, the center has an international test garden in progress, and there's a nursery on site.

"We have the largest collection of Rambler roses in the country. Over 300 of them. That's a new initiative that the American Rose Society has taken on. Those are things that you won't see in other parts of the country, "she said, "and it's right in your backyard."

According to Sommers, the center just hosted the national convention for ARS,

with over 300 people from all over the country in attendance in Shreveport. There were lectures, seminars and even a rose show on-site for attendees.

Also, this month, they're hosting a webinar to teach gardeners how to care for their pruners and other outdoor equipment. "Something that all people who work in the garden need," Sommers added. "Then, what we'll be doing is sending things out through social media for educational opportunities."

If you're interested in ARS membership or programs at the American Rose Center, you can find more information at: www.facebook.com/RoseSociety, twitter.com/AmericanRoseSoc, or www.instagram.com/AmericanRoseSociety. During June, the ARS is also offering a free membership preview.

The center is 118 acres of more than just petals and thorns. "Whenever I ask people, have you been to the garden lately, they say, well, it was several years ago," Sommers said. "So, you need to go back.

"We, last year, finished a $2 million renovation in the gardens, renovating the chapel, with new lighting and paint in the event center. We have beautiful circle gardens that tell the story of the rose. There is a very nice meeting hall that is used for weddings, but it is also used for corporate events, meetings and parties. People have had anniversary parties there."

Sommers said most people have heard of or have been to the Rose Center because they go to Christmas at Roseland.

It's an annual event and is one of the major fundraisers for the organization.

"We just won a special award from the Tourism Bureau for the Outstanding Event of the Year for Christmas at Roseland. But people only see it at night," she said laughing, "and they don't see it when the roses are blooming. We have to encourage more people to go back and see what it looks like now."

Located at 8877 Jefferson Paige Road in Shreveport, the Rose Center is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., April 1 through Oct. 31, closing for federal holidays. The grounds also include various sculptures, water features, a playground and a picnic area. It's the only place around where you can see 7,000 roses in one place.

Sommers said, "You absolutely should go out there. It's a very pleasant, peaceful place to be. It's really quite lovely. It really is."

The recently restored Asian Garden.`

The Julia Child roses are a star at the Center.

Drone views of the new circle garden design.


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