Monday, November 4, 2013

Virtual Tour of Gardens: Strowd Garden

Witherspoon Rose Culture Presents:
Virtual Tour of the Gene Strowd Community Garden

We live in a society that champions speed and efficiency.  Smartphones make it easy to communicate without verbal communication and almost eliminate the need for face to face contact.  These advances in technology, frequency of relocation, and busier schedules have all contributed to an overall sense of isolation in our society.  We truly have to work to be a part of a community, but it is a refreshing experience to be a part of something larger than ourselves.  Gene Strowd was a man who championed community, and over four hundred and fifty roses stand as a testament to that fact in the Gene Strowd Community Garden in Chapel Hill, NC. 

Gene Strowd Community Garden

Gene Strowd was a rosarian on the national level, but his heart was obviously dedicated to his home community of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.  Mr. Strowd used roses as a way of engaging with people and bringing beauty into the lives of those he came in contact with daily.  In 1987, he proposed the idea of a community rose garden where everyone was welcome to come and experience the beauty that only roses can provide.  Gene Strowd, along with the Chapel Hill Rose Society and the Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department, designed the layout of the garden and construction began in 1988.

Climbing Iceberg

As you walk into the garden, you get a sense of what Gene Strowd hoped to accomplish by planting a rose garden in the middle of Chapel Hill.  There are benches around the garden where you can sit and have a face to face conversation with friends.  You will hear joyful giggles from the playground that is located directly adjacent to the garden, and if you take time to sit in the gazebo at the back of garden you will see how many people from the community take time to stop and smell the roses.  The copper fountain in the center of the garden provides a soundtrack to the rose garden with soothing sounds of trickling water, and the brick pathways lead you through the fragrant beds of roses that encourage you to take time out of your busy day to enjoy pure beauty.

Raised Brick Bed

Both Gene and his beautiful bride, Irene, have passed on from this world, but through Strowd Roses, Inc their commitment to the community of Chapel Hill and Carrboro continues on to this day.  Not only does Strowd Roses, Inc fund the maintenance of the Gene Strowd Garden, they also provide funding for community organizations that improve the quality of life for the community of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Living in a society where speed and efficiency are often championed over personal connection, it is refreshing to step into a world of beauty where we can slow down and enjoy the people around us.  Gene Strowd and his wife Irene dedicated their lives and their money to promote a community where helping one another and enjoying togetherness was advocated for above all else.

Carefree Spirit  
Climbing America

Copper Fountain

Seating area in the gazebo


Double Delight



Join us next time for our third stop on the Witherspoon Virtual Tour of Gardens!

Would you like for your garden to be featured in our virtual tour of gardens?  
Email Kelley Triplett at

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