Garden Photo of the Day

GPOD on the Road: Hershey Gardens, Part 1

Another sweet surprise in a town built on chocolate

Hershey Gardens

Hi GPODers!

As an avid traveler, I’m more than happy to continue Joseph’s “On the Road” series and feature gorgeous gardens you and I have experienced while traveling or exploring new areas. I’m kicking things off today on a very sweet note.

Hershey, Pennsylvania, is known as the birthplace of the Hershey Chocolate Company, and thousands of people travel to the town every year to taste fresh chocolate from the factory and enjoy the chocolate-themed entertainment the area has to offer. (You can’t leave without taking a photo of their famous Hershey Kiss–topped street lamps.) However, did you know that Milton Hershey also had a soft spot for roses? The Hershey Company founder started a humble 3.5-acre public rose garden in 1937, which has expanded to the 23-acre botanical garden it is today. If you’re in the area, before you gorge out on all things cocoa, make sure to stop by Hershey Gardens.

When I visited the garden around this time last year, I was blown away by the rows and rows of roses in every color, size, and form. Below you’ll find just a sampling of what can be seen at this impressive botanical garden.

rows of rose beds and an arch covered in climbing rosesIt was pretty early in the season for roses, but a tremendous amount were already sporting fabulous blooms. While I wish I could say that I stopped and smelled all the roses, there were far too many to even stop and admire them all. According to the garden’s website, there are 3,000 roses in the garden, representing 115 different varieties.

close up of Rainbow Niagara roseA color combination to go crazy for, this giant ‘Rainbow Niagara’ (Rosa ‘Rainbow Niagara’, Zones 5–9) smelled as good as it looked.

close up of Lagerfeld roseThe color of ‘Lagerfeld’ (Rosa ‘Lagerfeld’, Zones 7–10) stopped me in my tracks. The mauve/lavender color looked straight out of a fairytale.

close up of bright pink rose with ruffled petalsIf flower color doesn’t peak your interest, the many different flower shapes and forms should pull you in. Unfortunately, I didn’t capture the name of this beauty. Rose connoisseurs, let me know in the comments if you recognize this variety!

bench underneath arch covered in light pink rosesIf there wasn’t so much to see at this garden, I absolutely could have sat and enjoyed this shady bench for hours.

sign with information on the m.s. hershey and catherine hershey rosesThe history of the Hershey family adds some additional interest to the gardens. This particular section of the garden is dedicated to showing off the rose varieties named after Milton and his wife.

close up of M.S. Hershey roseThe Catherine Hershey roses weren’t blooming yet when I visited, but the M. S. Hershey rose blooms were in abundance. My mother was so transfixed by the flowers that she couldn’t resist bringing a shrub home for her own garden. Yes! You can actually buy your own M. S. Hershey or Catherine Hershey roses right at Hershey Gardens. My mother’s purchase is already thriving in her garden and sending out lots of buds this spring.

dawn redwood at a botanical gardenRoses aren’t the only plants worth seeing at Hershey Gardens! There are several themed gardens, but my highlights were the incredible trees. It’s just so hard to capture their impact in an image. This dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboidesZones 5–10) was so much larger and awe-inspiring in person.

weeping European beech at Hershey GardensEqually as awe-inspiring was this weeping European beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’) of absolutely amazing proportions. It was a very unseasonably hot, sunny day when I visited, so the sight of this spectacular source of shade was exciting for more than one reason!

close up of orange bearded irisesThese bearded irises (Iris germanica, Zones 3–10) had me dreaming of orange creamsicles.

Lastly, I couldn’t get enough of these gorgeous rhododendrons and how they paired so perfectly with a few different hostas.

If you’re in Pennsylvania or passing through this year, consider making a stop in Hershey. There is so much more to see than just chocolate. If you can’t wait to see more, make sure you check out GPOD tomorrow.


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  1. User avater
    simplesue 05/16/2024

    That ‘Lagerfeld’ (Rosa ‘Lagerfeld’ really is a nice shade. Great post, interesting plants and trees. I love Dawn Redwoods and that Weeping Beach is spectacular!

    1. khayes22 05/17/2024

      Exactly my thoughts, Sue! I don't think I've ever seen a rose anywhere near that 'Lagerfeld' shade - it stopped me in my tracks. And happy to hear you're a tree lover, too!

  2. btucker9675 05/16/2024

    Gorgeous!! That rose arber over the bench is envy inducing and the weeping beech is almost beyond belief. You're right about the creamsicle irises!!

    1. khayes22 05/17/2024

      Soo many dreamy plants and spaces at Hershey Gardens! I would love to go back during the summer months to see everything at its peak.

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