A Short Drive from Cary: Chapel Hill Rose Garden

Story and photos by Hal Goodtree

Cary, NC – Just a short drive from Cary is the wonderful world of Chapel Hill. More like its own republic than a town, some say. Just recently, I discovered the most wonderful rose garden tucked in a park far away from the hubbub of Franklin Street.

Chapel Hill Community Park

Drive all the way to Chapel Hill to go to a park, you say? This park is worth the drive.

I stumbled on the Rose Garden scouting a location for a client in Chapel Hill. His business is two miles away from the rose garden, but he didn’t know about it. So let’s agree it’s a hidden gem.

The main entrance to the park is on South Estes Drive, across from University Mall (another client). Find it on a map.

The Gene Strowd Rose Garden

It’s a lovely park, with rolling hills, basketball courts and a playground for children. But the rose garden is spectacular.

To many eye, it appears to be about 200 feet per side – quite large. Over 350 rose bushes representing 130 different varieties of rose grace the garden. I know because I counted.

Actually, I got the info from Gene Strowd Roses, a website about the garden. Mr. Strowd first proposed the garden in 1987, then designed it. It was dedicated and named in his honor in 1990.

When I went just a couple of weeks ago, the place was in full bloom, even though it’s September. Every shrub has a plaque identifying the species.

An attractive fountain provides a central focal point for the garden, well-proportioned for the space with simple, modern lines.

Photographers love the garden. Bring a tripod and set up for an afternoon of pure joy.

You can even reserve the garden for weddings, parties and and other events.

How To Visit

Chapel Hill Community Center Park
Gene Strowd Rose Garden
120 S. Estes Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Hours (Park): Dawn to 10 p.m.