Shaker Heights Community Rose Garden
As it was in 1999. is glad to host this page.
Shaker Square is in the Shaker Heights School District and just a mile west of the Rose Garden.

This page describes the rose garden at the peak of its rejuvenation, eight years ago. Since that time conditions have changed dramatically. Today the garden is considering how to best adapt to its modern constraints and how best to serve our community. To learn about what is being planned, click here.

The garden's 83 year history is one of growth, decline and revitalization   more ...

What's in the garden About 1,000 rose bushes, from modern Hybrid Teas to ancient  more ...

How and when to visit Located on land owned by the Shaker Heights schools more ...

The New Direction  What's next for the  garden  more ...

Other public rose gardens  more ...

Shaker Heights Community Rose Garden
Looking north from the center of the garden
Photo: Sanford Cone


The garden's 83 year history is one of growth, decline and revitalization. 

In 1924 rose-lovers Frederick E. Bruce and William H. Kinsey led a campaign to raise funds for a Shaker Heights Community Rose Garden. In 1926 Charles Schneider, the architect of Shaker's City Hall, designed the garden, next to Woodbury and Onaway schools.

Because the rose garden was on school land, the school district's staff maintained it. But in the '70s and '80s, as a consequence of tighter budgets and higher labor costs, the garden received less care. By the early '90's it had declined so much that there was consideration of using the land for a parking lot. The thought of losing the garden stirred the Onaway School neighborhood. In 1993 former Woodbury Road resident Lowell Van Deusen made a gift to the Onaway Community Association to help renew the garden.

The rebirth of the garden is the story of five years of dedicated volunteer effort and the cooperation of the schools and the city. About 20 citizens gave their time and skills to organize, plan and promote the garden. Most of them, along with perhaps 80 others identified, moved, planted, labeled, mulched, pruned, weeded, watered and fed the roses. Gifts from more than 200 donors paid for hundreds of new roses, benches and an information display.

By 1998 the work of these caring citizens, public support and the help of the Shaker Schools had brought the Shaker Heights Community Rose Garden back to life.

What's in the garden

About 1,000 rose bushes, from old Damask Roses to modern ever-blooming floribunda and Hybrid Tea roses are planted in the garden. The original plan, as described in a 1927 gardening magazine: "... includes climbing roses on the fence, polyantha along the street line, rose rugosa in the hedge, sweetbriers at the ends of the garden and a mixed planting of rose Hugonis, deciduous shrubs and evergreens, Hybrid teas and hybrid perpetuals fill the beds."

The hybrid roses are organized by color and type in more than 30 beds deep red roses in the southern-most beds, pink in the center beds, yellow and white at the northern end. Most roses are labeled. An information panel at the north end of the garden (just right of the trellis in the above photo) has a map of the garden and a list of donors and supporters.

Most roses in the garden were planted after 1993, but there are many pre-1993 specimens  and even a few believed to be from the original 1926 - 27 planting.

How and when to visit

Located on land owned by the Shaker Heights Schools, the garden is next to Woodbury School (5-6th grade) and near Onaway Elementary School. It is on the east side of Woodbury Road, about 200 yards south of South Woodland Road. For a map, click here.

It may be visited at no charge during daylight hours any day of the week.

Most of the roses in the garden are modern ever-blooming varieties and return to bloom a few times during the summer. Because many of our other specimens, including dozens of old climbing rose bushes, bloom only once each year, the summer's first bloom
perhaps in early June is the garden's most glorious time.

On the cover of the May-June 1997 issue
of Shaker The Community Newsmagazine

What direction for the Rose Garden?

The garden is described above at the peak of its rejuvenation.

But in recent years the plan for the Rose Garden has not been achievable. First, as any rose gardener will tell you, roses need care. A garden with 1,000 bushes is a labor-intensive effort that needs many more volunteers than can be found in these busy times. Second, the garden leaders respected the changed public attitudes to spraying programs - seen as placing children and pets at risk - so near our schools. But ending this protection left the roses vulnerable to disease and a great many bushes have been lost.

Now a transformation of the garden is being planned. To learn more and to have an opportunity to express your views, click here.

June 6, 2007


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