Huntington Park Rose Garden
The Rose Garden at Huntington Park located in historic Huntington Park, bursts into a carnival of color by early May and remains in bloom until late October or November. Hybrid tea, grandiflora, floribunda, climber, shrub and miniature roses are represented in the 74 varieties of the 1000 bush garden.
In November of 2000 renovation of the garden’s twenty-eight rose beds began. As of spring 2008, twenty-five beds have had a total soil replacement to a depth of eighteen inches and new bushes have been planted. Fifty-four new varieties of roses have been introduced into the garden. A trellis, with New Dawn climbers, was installed to enhance the main entrance to the garden.
To Support the Garden Renovation Project
Individuals and organizations are encouraged to support the garden renovation projects through tax deductable donations. Gifts of at least $600 will be recognized by a plaque placed in a newly renovated bed. Other gifts will be acknowledged by a certificate. See the section titled “How to Donate” for details. Additional information is also available by calling the Landscape Services Office at 591-4844.
To Reserve the Rose Garden
The rose garden is a beautiful setting for spring, summer or fall weddings. A reservation and a fee are required and arrangements are made through the Parks and Recreation Operations office at 886-7912.
To Learn About Growing Roses
The garden also serves as a rose grower’s classroom. Informational tours, educational programs and individual consultations with the garden rosarians can be arranged through the Landscape Services Office at 591-4844.
The Garden’s History
The land was donated to the City of Newport News in 1924 “for the purpose of a public park and recreation ground”. Henry E. Huntington, an official of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, the first chairman of the board of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company and a director of the Old Dominion Land Company, was instrumental in facilitating the donation of this valuable Warwick county property to the city. He was the nephew of Collis P. Huntington (1821-1900) who brought the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway to Newport News Point in the 1880s and founded the modern City of Newport News. He also founded the shipyard which was the first commercial venture and the first industry in the state of Virginia.
During the late 1960’s, city officials decided that “a city this size needed a rose garden”. The site selected is on part of the former Ferguson Park housing development. To provide emergency accommodations for shipbuilders on the eve of World War II, the U.S. Navy built a 5,000 person housing development which was first occupied in 1941. Ferguson Park, which honored Shipyard President Homer L. Ferguson (1878-1953), was vacated and razed beginning September 1, 1965.
The garden, which opened in 1970, was the result of a joint effort between the City and the Virginia Peninsula Rose Society. The initial planting (approximately 750 bushes) was predominately hybrid tea and grandiflora roses chosen for their hardiness and adaptability. Also planted were floribundas and tree roses. In 1975 the garden was beautifully expanded thanks to the donation of the prized roses of Williamsburg mayor, retired dentist Dr. Henry M. Stryker, who died in 1974. A second expansion occurred in the 1980s with the gift of roses from the garden of local businessman Charles F. Garner.
In the late 1980s, trellises were constructed in four beds to accommodate climbing roses and brick borders were added to the beds. A gazebo was also added in the center of the garden.
During 1990 and 1991, a major revitalization project was undertaken to replace plants that had been damaged by disease and severe winter weather. At that time, approximately 600 of the roses were replaced giving the garden a total of about 900 bushes.
Tax deductible donations to the Rose Garden at Huntington Park are a wonderful way to remember family and friends for years to come. Donations will be placed in a restricted plant fund to be used for the purchase of new plants for the rose garden. An acknowledgement will be sent to the honored individual or family of the person memorialized.
How to Donate
payable to: Newport News Park and Recreation
Designate: Rose Garden Fund
Mail to: Landscape Services
Attn: Doug Kennedy, Supervisor
100 Minton Drive
Newport News, VA 23606
Include: 1. Your name and address
2. Name of person or organization to be recognized
3. Name and address of person to whom acknowledgement should be sent