Most of us think of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens as a backdrop for the kids’ photos, but that’s a shame. The Gardens merit frequent visits for their own sake, as they are always changing with the seasons and, let’s face it, who can appreciate the place when you are busy fussing over smocked vs. seersucker for a photo?
Spring/early summer is a particularly fine time to visit the gardens because the Dunn Formal Rose Garden is full of color. Did you know that the garden is an official All America Rose Selection Display Garden? This means that the varieties change every year to showcase some of the newer introductions. This also explains why some roses still have their tag identifiers and care instructions. At first glance, I confess I thought it seemed a little unseemly for professionals to rely on cheat sheets, but then I considered that this garden is maintained by Rose Society volunteers who are basically starting over every year.
Rose varieties are as interesting for their optimistic names as for their beautiful color. Who can resist “Strike it Rich” or “Dream Come True“? You never hear of roses called “Forgotten at the Old Homestead” or “Neglected Briar Bush“. I was amazed to discover an area of Knockout Roses in the gardens. Weren’t those developed specifically for us hopeless non-rosarians? Would an proper English gardener allow such a pedestrian specimen? Perhaps everyone needs a no-fail plant after all.
In any case, the Gardens are free to the public and you will not find a more lovely place to stroll and enjoy someone else’s hard work and expertise.
Other All-America Rose Display Gardens in Alabama include Bellingrath Gardens and U.S.S. Alabama Battleship Park.