Olbrich's Rose Garden is an extraordinary two-acre
garden that showcases all type of roses blended with colorful perennials,
waving ornamental grasses, showy shrubs, ornamental trees, annuals
and spring blooming bulbs. Drawn together in a Prairie style design
with a 30-foot tower and fountains built
of native stone, this innovative combination of plants dazzles the
visitor year round.
The Rose Garden celebrates the beauty and adaptability
of hardy and environmentally friendly shrub roses, but also includes the traditional garden roses - hybrid
teas, grandifloras and floribundas. Olbrich's Rose Garden embraces
the climate and gardening challenges of the Upper Midwest and creates
a sustainable rose garden for all of our
While roses are wonderful on their own, they
are even lovelier when planted in combination with other hardy plants.
In Olbrich's Rose Garden, colorful bulbs announce the arrival of
spring. Roses, annuals, perennials, and shrubs peak throughout the
summer. Grasses usher in autumn and provide a backdrop for the winter
interest garden. Brilliant rose hips, colorful fruit and bark of
trees and shrubs and the architectural "bones" of the garden emerge
through winter's snow, bringing the garden full circle into spring.
Prairie Style Design
Prairie style architecture, as developed by Frank Lloyd Wright, was
the first truly American form of architecture. The Prairie style
is typified by simplified geometric designs that harmonize with
nature and are constructed of natural materials. Prairie style
architecture is a defining feature throughout the Midwestern United
States and at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. The Madison landscape
architectural firm of Ken Saiki Design carried this style into
Olbrich's Rose Garden using native limestone to create a true sense
To connect the architecture with the garden's
rose theme, the design team focused on the five-petal symmetry of
the rose family. The forecourt fountain has five water jets, and
the weeping wall in the center courtyard features five mini-waterfalls.
The Rose Garden Tower, the garden's most prominent
feature, was designed by Madison architect Ron Bowen. This handsome
two-story tower is accessible to all and offers spectacular views
of the Rose Garden and beyond.
Olbrich's Rose Garden features the shrub rose because of its beauty
and its tough, resilient nature. Many of these winter-hardy, disease-resistant
plants bloom repeatedly throughout the season, are deliciously
fragrant, and come in a bounty of colors. A number have ornamental
fruit, called hips, which adds to the beauty of the dormant landscape.
Some shrub roses offer beautiful foliage, both during the season
and in the fall. Factor in lower water requirements and minimal
need for pesticides, and the shrub rose distinguishes itself as
a near-perfect plant for a beautiful, sustainable garden in the
Many new shrub rose introductions hit the market
each year. Olbrich's Rose Garden will provide the opportunity to
grow and evaluate many more of these new cultivars, keeping the
best and composting those that don't perform well in the Midwest.
Sustainable Rose Garden
In keeping with its commitment to create, conserve, and interpret
garden and plants hardy to the American Midwest, Olbrich has created
a sustainable Rose Garden. This is a garden that is adapted to
and sustained in our climate, without extraordinary water, chemical,
and care demands. It is a garden that shows the visitor and the
gardener the possibilities and beauty of a sustainable garden - a
garden that honors what is perhaps the world's most beloved flower
in a setting that thrives through spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Rose Garden also features a rain
garden, a landscape feature used to control water run-off.
During a storm, rainwater collects in the garden where it is gradually
absorbed into the soil to help recharge our ground water. Rain
gardens minimize the volume and improve the quality of water entering
conventional storm drains and nearby streams.
All-America Rose Selections Display Garden
Olbrich Botanical Gardens is proud to be an accredited All-America Rose Selections Display Garden, one of only two such AARS-accredited gardens in Wisconsin. As a AARS Display Garden, Olbrich receives AARS winners a year before they are available to the public. The winners are planted in the Rose Garden, and specially labeled as AARS winners. Olbrich displays all of the more recent years' winners, as well as select winners from the past, such as 'Mr. Lincoln' a deep red hybrid tea rose from 1965.
AARS is a non-profit association dedicated to the introduction of exceptional roses for today's gardener, and to helping people find the best roses for their garden. Since 1930, the AARS trial program has encouraged the rose indursty to improve the vitality, disease resistance, and beauty of roses for American home gardens. Every AARS winning rose completes an extensive two-year trial program where it's judged on 15 characteristics, from disease resistance and flower production, to color and fragrance. In recent years, AARS has mirrored Olbrich's interest in hardier, lower maintenance roses by awarding All-America status to more shrub roses, including the Wisconsin bred 2000 winner, 'Knock Out.' For more information about AARS, visit www.rose.org.