Spring is on its way as on Saturday new roses were planted at the Rose Garden at Walnut Hill Park, near the World War I Monument, by a number of volunteers.
“We are opening up the garden for the season. We do that every year,” said Michelle Malinowski, a board member of the Friends of the Walnut Hill Rose Garden. “Our first planting was on April 10, 2010. What we are doing this year is doing a significant number of plantings for replacement roses.”
During the past eight years minor replacements have taken place of the roses. This year was a major planting as over 250 roses were set in the ground.
There are over 800 roses in the garden. It is set up in four quadrants. The colors of the garden was set in 2010. The colors are red, white, pink and yellow roses.
“When we designed the garden, not only do the quadrants mirror one another, but the variety and colors of roses do as well,” said Malinowski. “The beginning of the quadrants are done in reds to honor where we are in the monument.”
Some of the rose names include “Let Freedom Ring”, “Veteran’s Honor”, “Firefighter” and “Honor”.
The rose garden is the largest volunteer maintained Rose Garden in the state.
“Major plantings are twice a year,” said Hillary Bristol, board member of the Friends of the Walnut Hill Rose Garden. “We come out and trim everything out and get rid of the debris in the Fall and then we come back in the Spring. We plant if we need to plant, weed and then from now until September, volunteers come in and weed and do a little bit of raking.”
A schedule for people to come out is set as the Rose Garden Festival gets closer. This year the festival is planned for June 16.
The Friends of Walnut Hill Park Rose Garden was started in the Spring of 2009 to restore and maintain the Walnut Hill Park Rose Garden. Working together with the New Britain Parks and Recreation Department and coordinating volunteer efforts from local residents, community organizations and the University of Connecticut Master Gardener program.
The organization’s mission is to connect and unite residents through the therapeutic art and joy of gardening at the Walnut Hill Park Rose Garden, restoring and reviving vital urban green space in New Britain.
Community donations and involvement are the keys to the maintenance and continued success of the Walnut Hill Park Rose Garden.
Volunteers are always needed and all you need is a desire to work hard.
Stasha Rodriguez, board member of the Friends of the Walnut Hill Rose Garden, said she is trying to organize the Polish community to come and help.
“It is not only hard work, but socializing is part of it,” said Rodriguez. “We start new friendships. We cultivate the old ones. It is a lot of fun.”
Kaya Czwilask, a volunteer from New Britain High School, said there is a lot to do and its a good opportunity for high school students to get community service hours.
The group said it is all done thanks to help from the New Britain Parks and Recreation Department.
“They are a great partner. They store the roses on delivery for us,” said Malinowski. “Parks and rec’s staff dug holes for us.”
For more information go to http://friendsoftherosegarden.org.