The Bogan Park Rose Garden

by Bobbie Reed, Master Rosarian

The Greater Gwinnett Rose Society hasn’t always had a rose garden at Bogan Park. We haven’t always had our rose shows there. We haven’t had all our Rose Days there. No, back in “ancient” times before I joined GGRS, society activities revolved around Vines Botanical Gardens in Loganville. Members took care of the rose gardens, meetings were held there, and Rose Days were held there, and the first Gwinnett rose show was held at Vines in 1998. The site was less than ideal for a rose show, requiring rose displays and judging in two different buildings, and even then it was crowded. It wasn’t easy for the public to find, either, in the basement of the main building and in the cabaña out back, in the far southeastern corner of the county. But times changed, and we were confronted with the need to find another location, hopefully with easier access and more visibility. After looking at malls, churches, senior centers, and everywhere else we could think of, we landed at Bogan Park.

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A sickly-looking bed of azaleas in full sun was sacrificed by Park personnel, and planting began with roses purchased from Chamblee Rose Nursery, of course. The first bed, closest to the parking lot, was established the next spring with some of the lowest-maintenance roses we could find – ‘Knock Out’ and ‘Carefree Beauty’. Even with minimal care, those first roses flourished. In 2004 we expanded the bed, clearing out the rest of the azaleas and adding more of the same roses.

In 2000 the Greater Atlanta Rose Society was hosting a national ARS convention in the fall. It was agreed to move the date of the GGRS rose show to spring, so our show would not conflict with the National, and so GARS could conserve resources by skipping their usual spring show. On Mothers’ Day weekend in 2000 we held our show at Bogan Park. We had good foot traffic around the building and into the rose show, speakers, and more. We knew instantly that this was a great place for us! After enjoying a second rose show there, and establishing the Rose Day tradition, GGRS decided that it was timeto give something back

Bogan Park Rose Garden July, 2005

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The roses were maintained with our semi-annual efforts. Roses were pruned in March, a little fertilizer was added,and then covered with new mulch. We then return in July or August to deadhead and clean up the beds. Yes, that’s all the maintenance they get!

Pruning crew March 2005: Don Schwarz, Rosie Tripp, Linda Bohne, Sonia & Misha Shames, Adolf von Württemberg [back row], Nancy Miller, Rani von Württemberg, Bill Belknap [front row].

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Summer workday, 2008. Bill Belknap, Nancy Miller, Don Schwarz.

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In 2007 work began on the second garden, by the entrance to the aquatic center, to add a more varied display of EarthKind® Roses. This bed initially included ‘Marie Daly’, and ‘Mutabilis’; ‘Perle d’Or’ was added as plants became available. In recent years we’ve discovered that one of the plants was misidentified, so we will be replacing it this year.

The second EarthKind garden at Bogan Park, 2008, when it was one year old.

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Bill Belknap has been the moving force behind these gardens, ordering roses, maintaining links with the park, arranging for supplies and helpers, and leading the pruning and work days. We thank you, Bill, and the roses thank you.

The garden thrives, 2008.

Adendum: This year we intend to show the garden in various stages throughout the year from Rose Day before and after pruning to our Rose Show in October. This will include before and after photos when we prune in late summer in preparation for our Rose Show. We'll also have a few shots during the year; see - Bogan Park - 2013.