Lee Ann Freitas, Director of the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center, works with staff and a dedicated team of volunteers to keep the Center in bloom year after year. When Lee Ann started the position three years ago, the Rose Maze at the Botanical Center was not faring well. Roses had were over-grown while the trellises and pathway were run down.

Last year, dedicated volunteer rose gardeners removed many old roses and planted a selection over forty new roses with the staff. Since then, the newer varieties have filled in and the roses have a consistent team of volunteers who assure proper pruning.  With a generous donation to the Roger Williams Park Conservancy from the Palmieri Family Fund this year the Botanical Center replaced the trellises, added irrigation and a pergola to enhance the beauty of the rose maze.

Rose lovers’ generosity

“Volunteers and staff are happy that a new irrigation system provides for more efficient watering,” said Lee Ann. “The new pergola complements the exquisiteness of the roses and creates a wonderful space to relax and enjoy. I am so thankful to the Palmieri Family. It is now a place everyone can appreciate, enjoy, and be inspired to grow a rose of their own.”

Lee Ann worked with Walpole Woodworkers to create and implement a custom design for the City.  “I wanted the design to create an element of surprise with each new trellis revealing a new fragrance and color of rose,” added Lee Ann.  The 19-foot long pergola frames a unique standardized Viburnum dentatum and will become the back drop for many future nuptials.

The Rose Maze is on the grounds of the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center.  When the gardens re-open, visitors can explore, linger and find their own favorite rose.  There is a small admission charge, but the Botanical Center is a sparkling diamond in the jade necklace of the Park.  When you visit take a moment to spot the pollinators, native birds and appreciate a quiet moment in the gazebo on Cundiff Lake.

“Roger Williams Park Conservancy is thrilled to help make these investments a reality,” said Kevin Essington, Executive Director of the Conservancy. “I am excited to see the Rose Maze in full bloom for years to come.”

What else is in bloom?

The Palmieri Family also made a generous donation to the Conservancy to refurbish the Roger Williams Park Victorian Rose Garden near the Elmwood Avenue entrance to the Park.  The City of Providence repaired historic columns, constructed a new brick pathway, and volunteers and staff are planting over 100 new varieties of roses.

“The Roger Williams Park Botanical Center is so thankful to the donors of the Conservancy for helping to ensure the legacy of individuals like Mr. Palmieri,” said Lee Ann. “We hope that his love of roses and desire to share that love is enjoyed here in the Rose Maze at the Center and in the Roger Williams Park Victorian Rose Garden.”

June is a glorious time to be outdoors in Rhode Island. And the smell of roses on the breeze is nowhere better than at Roger Williams Park. Hopefully the photos below inspire you to visit soon. See you there!

Rose Maze Glory

Victorian Rose Garden Restored

All photos courtesy Roger Williams Park Conservancy.


One thought on “Amazing Rose Maze Restoration”

  1. Jeff Rossi says:

    I remember back in the 1950’s & 60’s when the original rose gardens were at the entrance to the park. I remember encircling the big lawn where the Victorian rose garden is there was a huge ally of some kind of multiflora roses on those arches I think it went all the way around. Large clusters of small rosy pink red flowers.
    I believed it was all removed when they enlarged the zoo in the 1970’s.
    Is there any record of what variety they they were?

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