JASPER CRANE ROSE GARDEN

FOWP is responsible for the care of the Jasper Crane Rose Garden, a horticultural jewel of the park, frequented by thousands of visitors. This landmark was established in 1933-34 as a project that combined the efforts of the City of Wilmington, Federal Government, and private citizens.

The garden was planned in 1933 as a Public Works Administration project. A rose garden in Brandywine Park was a long-time dream of Board of Parks Commissioner Edgar L. Haynes. He and other commissioners studied public rose gardens and consulted Horace McFarland, founder and president of the American Rose Society. Jasper E. Crane, a DuPont vice president, donated 670 plants of 58 different varieties. Crane carefully chose plants that he had grown in his own garden, which was renowned for its beauty. The beds were designed so that 400 more roses could be planted when funding was available.

The rose garden was a beautiful success. In 1935, American Rose Annual noted it would be “one of the loveliest rose gardens in the country.” The garden was at its peak in the 1950s with 1,000 plants and 100 varieties. The garden became known as the Jasper Crane Rose Garden.

Restoring The Garden

When FOWP took on the care of the garden in the 1990s, we embarked on a restoration of the garden to replace the plantings and install a new irrigation system, which was completed in 2001. In 2013 FOWP added a fountain in the garden for the enjoyment of park goers.

FOWP employs a skilled rose gardener year-round to maintain the garden. The Rose Garden is enjoyed every June by FOWP members and friends at the Jasper Crane Rose Garden Party and is also a favorite location of local photographers. In 2015, we installed a new irrigation system with support from Curran Foundation and Laffey-McHugh Foundation. We also planted more than 100 new rose bushes, generously donated by Star Roses and Plants. In 2016 we added as many as 100 more rose bushes to return the garden to its full splendor. We are thankful for the Curran Foundation’s support of the maintenance of the Garden.

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