Fayetteville Technical Community College is home to one of the area’s most popular outdoor sites for visitors – the Fayetteville Rose Garden.

Established in 1972, the garden now boasts nearly 1,000 rose bushes in three dozen varieties. Some of the rose bushes were among the original plantings.

Marvin Lackman of the Fayetteville Rose Society said the garden was the result of a “tri-organizational” effort by the city of Fayetteville, the society, and the college, then known as Fayetteville Technical Institute.

Fayetteville Tech provided the site and soil preparation, and the society provided 240 rose bushes, which were laid out in a pattern designed by Augusta Knight.

The partnership has continued through the years. The society buys new plants each year, based on the needs of the garden. Lackman said the group tries to offer something for everyone – from the casual observer to the discerning rose enthusiast.

“Some people like fragrant roses, some people like colorful roses, some people like both,” he said. “And we try to ensure that we’ve got a variety in there for them.”

Meanwhile, FTCC takes care of the garden. FTCC grounds technician Ashley Reid has been the garden’s caretaker for eight years and works daily with occasional help from society members to keep the garden healthy.

“Each rose is different,” Reid said. “When you work with them, you learn which ones hold the bloom longer, which ones need more attention, which ones have disease issues.”

Reid suggests that home rosarians start cutting back their roses in late February or early March, but given the large size of the Fayetteville Rose Garden, Reid usually begins the first big cutback of the year in January.

“And when I say cut them back, I’m talking 18 to 24 inches from the ground,” she said. “That’s going to help them flesh out in the spring. That’s why I think the first bloom is the prettiest.”

Most years, that first bloom occurs in May.

The enduring beauty of the garden attracts plenty of visitors each year, with some choosing the garden as the backdrop for life’s singular moments, like graduation or engagement photo shoots.

“I heard from a woman who said her grandmother got married in the garden,” Lackman said. “And those stories are always nice to hear.


Tips for cultivating your roses at home:

Ashley Reid

  • Do your pruning in late February or early March, after the threat of hard frosts and before buds start blooming, and remove anything “dead, dying or diseased,” says FTCC Grounds Technician Ashley Reid.

  • Remove and replace all pine straw in the bed to ensure no cross-contamination from diseased debris.

  • Reid suggests using drip irrigation rather than overhead watering as another way to prevent the spread of fungus.

  • Fertilize roses about every 60 days during the growing season. Spray them with fungicide to keep black spot at bay. Keep an eye out for insects in summer and spray some sort of dormant oil or insecticide.

  • Spray pruners and other tools with rubbing alcohol to clean off fungus.

  • When a bloom has faded, trim the plant down to the next set of five leaves.

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