Fernbank in Autumn: A Trip to the Rose Garden

A magical visit to the rose garden at Fernbank.
A magical visit to the rose garden at Fernbank.

The award-winning writer and gardener Sydney Eddison once said that gardens were a form of autobiography. How true! You pick your favorite plants and flowers, you prune and pluck or you let it go and grow, you decide neatly clipped and ordered or wild and whimsical, you choose colors, height, dimensions, you choose careful maintenance or natural ease. Essentially you write a love story with your landscape.

Ms. Jeannie was thinking about all this the other day when she finally (after many months of waylaid attempts) managed to visit the rose garden at Fernbank,  Atlanta’s natural history museum.

Blooms aflutter in all directions.
Blooms aflutter in all directions.

What a gorgeous marvel this site was! Named in honor of Robert L. Staton, a local gardening enthusiast,  Robert built this story of a garden in the 1980s to not only explore his own passion of cultivating an incredible flower but also to provide an educational tool for rose enthusiasts around the world. Autobiography is right, dear readers!


The Fernbank rose garden is one of only three gardens in the United States that serves as a testing ground for rose varietals in accordance with the American Rose Society, which makes it an intriguing platform for experts and novice hobbyists as well as a place of beauty for the community.


Laid out on two sides of a big lawn joined by a paved walkway, over 1,300 rose bushes live in long raised beds, bordered by bricks and grass alleyways.  Being that it is now mid-October, Ms Jeannie didn’t know what she was in for in the bloom department. She thought she might be missing the season entirely, but was so happy to be proven wrong. At every turn there was something lovely to look at…



Roses came in a rainbow of colors and caught the light in all sorts of dramatic ways…






Such a visual feast for the eyes!  Stately buildings belonging to the museum and a view of the neighbor’s house next-door were tucked into the landscape and lent a fairy tale magic to the whole setting.



Even Indie, Ms. Jeannie’s travel companion, was overwhelmed with the spectacle of it all.  Not only was this her first walk-around trip in Atlanta but it was also an exercise on how to behave in a city environment.  She was a good little pup through it all despite the enticing distractions (so many squirrels!) and the fast moving cars.  But it also was a trip not without its perils…

Dog down. Thorn in the paw!
Thorn in the paw!

Oh poor thing! Some quick attention and one freshly dug hole later…

(Oops! Sorry Fernbank!)
(Oops! Sorry Fernbank!)

and she was back on the trail again.

Rumor has it that many a marriage proposal has occurred in the garden, and Ms. Jeannie can definitely understand why.  Clearly Robert Staton was a romantic on a mission.  The garden seduces you at every chance.  From varietal signs…


to traditional symbolism…


petals pull at your heart from all directions.


And now Ms. Jeannie is so thoroughly inspired to start her own assorted rose garden she can barely stop daydreaming about it all. More to come on that front soon!

In the meantime, in honor of such a magical place Ms. Jeannie is having a little sale just for her blog readers on anything floral (including all things photographed with flowers!) in her Etsy shop. Stop by and have a look here. Use coupon code FLOWERSFORALL to receive a 25% off discount.