Central Ohioans know it as a friendly gathering spot, but the Columbus Park of Roses enjoys a statewide reputation as a pleasure for the senses.
Home of more than 12,000 rose specimens, this 13-acre setting in the Clintonville neighborhood is redolent with the scent of roses from mid-June through September. But with more than a mile of paved walkways, it’s an urban oasis all year, long after the blooms have fallen.
Take a relaxing stroll through the Formal Rose Garden, a seven-acre spread that contains the bulk of the park’s flowers, laid out in a symmetrical pattern by rose variety. You’ll see several rose types, including floribunda, polyantha, grandiflora, miniflora, hybrid tea and shrub roses.
A vibrant fountain welcomes visitors who wander in from the main parking lot. A short stroll leads you to an observation tower that provides a prime position to grasp a wide-angle view of the park.
The Park of Roses is part of Whetstone Park, a former horse farm that’s been a public recreation space since the late 1940s. The seeds of a rose garden sprouted among active civic groups in the early ’50s, and it opened in 1953.
Soon thereafter the American Rose Society moved its headquarters next to the park where it remained until 1974, when it moved to its present location in Louisiana. Columbus Recreation and Parks Department now maintains the park.
The Formal Rose Garden gets most of the attention, but the park also includes a Heritage Garden with vines that date back over 100 years, the well-tended Herb Garden, a Perennial Garden and the Backyard Garden, designed to help do-it-yourselfers, with ornamental trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs.
The tree-laden acreage actually is an arboretum in itself. A cozy alcove of the park has an attractive gazebo and thus is a popular spot for weddings.
The free park is open 7 AM to dusk year-round.