It’s rose season! Here’s where you can find thousands

Local News

SYRACUSE  (WSYR-TV)- Just like the spring blooms and the strawberries, the early 90-degree heat helped speed up the roses too! If you don’t have any in a yard near you, Syracuse has a special spot with thousands.

There are about as many things to learn at the E.M. Mills Garden in Thornden Park as there are rose petals. The Syracuse Rose Society hosted Rose Day on Wednesday to answer questions from how to become a member to how to identify a rose species.  

NewsChannel 9’s Lindsay Raychel learned from Syracuse Rose Society President Jim Kahler and past President Pam Dooling that there are hundreds of rose varieties there, including Lady Ursula, originally planted in the Mills Garden in the 1920s. You won’t be able to buy it anywhere, but you can observe it’s beauty here in Syracuse’s hidden gem every year.

Pam Dooling, Past President of the Syracuse Rose Society says, “This garden is a work of love and it’s also supposed to be educational, we want to teach people about roses. We want to debunk any ideas that roses are hard to grow. We have many different varieties. I think we’re up to 350 different types of roses. We have over 3,500 rose bushes and we’ve counted them, so we know!”

Volunteers are the ones doing the weeding and pruning. The city helps with mowing and disease control.

The society was excited to bring back Rose Day after a hiatus in 2020. They’re also excited to host their annual Rose Show which had to be cancelled last year. They say it’s a fun and competitive way for everyone to share the beauty of their roses.

Dooling says, “It’s a friendly competition but it is a competition. Some of our members have 200 roses in their personal gardens 200-300 roses. I only have 50, so I’m considered small change compared to some of these other members but we compete and we have judges come in from out of town and they judge the rose show and again educating the public and teaching them you can win ribbons.”


The 101st annual Rose Show is this Saturday, June 19th at Destiny USA. It’s free to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can observe and learn as much as you want at the show. You can even volunteer in the garden, you don’t have to know anything about roses beforehand, the current members will be happy to teach you as you go.

For more information on how to become a member, you can visit their website.

If you’re looking to stop and smell the roses in Thornden Park, you might want to visit sooner rather than later, as of June 16, the roses are just beyond peak.

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