Rosecliff rose garden restored thanks to donors

RESTORATION OF THE Rosecliff rose garden has been completed, per an announcement by the Preservation Society of Newport County Friday. The project was commenced in October. / COURTESY OF PSONC
RESTORATION OF THE Rosecliff rose garden has been completed by the Preservation Society of Newport County. / COURTESY OF PRESERVATION SOCIETY OF NEWPORT COUNTY

NEWPORT – With the help of two donations from the V.J. Palmieri Charitable Trust, totaling $95,000, the Preservation Society of Newport County has been able to restore the rose garden at Rosecliff mansion.

“Preserving the landscapes of our historic properties is equally as important as preserving the buildings,” said Preservation Society CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe in a Friday announcement.

Noting the history of the Rosecliff rose garden, Coxe added in her remarks: “Rosecliff’s garden is especially precious because of its horticultural history, and because of its role as the site of the annual Newport Flower Show.”

The restoration of the garden was begun in October with work focused on re-drawing and edging the walking paths as well as installing new irrigation and drainage systems throughout the garden.

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The garden features new wood trellises, the pergola was cleaned and reinstalled and existing decor – including urns and statuary – were removed for conservation and returned to the garden.

TWO DONATIONS from the V.J. Palmieri Charitable Trust, totaling $95,000, enabled the restoration the rose garden at Rosecliff mansion. / COURTESY OF PRESERVATION SOCIETY OF NEWPORT COUNTY

Preservation Society of Newport County records show Theresa and Herman Oelrichs purchased the property and its original house in 1891. The previous tenant, George Bancroft; a historian, diplomat and 19th century rosarian; had developed extensive rose gardens on the site.

According to research undertaken by Jim Donahue, the group’s Curator of Historic Landscapes, invoices from European and United States plant nurseries show multiple rose strains were present on the grounds.

Plantings included in the recently-concluded restoration include the following species: Paul Neyron, General Jacqueminot, Rosa banksias lutea, La Reine Victoria, Old Blush, Complicata, and Mutabilis.

By the society’s count, Rosecliff, and its garden, is visited are visited annually by more than 137,000 people.

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email, gowdey-backus@pbn.com.

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