Heart of Louisiana: American Rose Center

The rose can look like the perfect flower, with its soft delicate petals, vibrant colors, and endless varieties.

Jeff Ware, executive director of the American Rose Society, says, "It's just because people are so passionate. No one's ever satisfied with just a red rose or just a pink rose, so we had to start experimenting with different colors, and now we have a whole rainbow of roses."

And these roses come with names like Rainbow Sorbet, Walking On Sunshine, or Dream Come True, part of the prize-winning All-American Rose Selections.

This Shreveport garden is the national headquarters of the American Rose Society. It moved here from Ohio in 1974. The move happened because a group of Shreveport donors gave the society 118 acres of wooded land. The rose gardens have been expanding for nearly 40 years.

Ware says, "We have 20,000 rose bushes of practically every variety known to man here on the property, every class of roses, all different colors, all different sizes, all different shapes."

From the towering centerpiece with its carillon bells, the wooded pathways lead from one garden spot to another, with shaded places to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of your surroundings. The roses are organized into 64 separate garden areas. You can see the most popular rose in the world – the Pink Knockout, or the Heritage Rose Collection.

Ware says, "Varieties that were popular before 1867… you will find many of those roses there and those are all fragrant, those are wonderful roses."

And then there's the David Austin English rose garden. Ware says, "We are testing and trialing them to see which of those varieties will work well in the hot southern climate."

"The one thing that people are really interested in now day is diseases resistance," Ware continues. "They want to be able to put a rose in their yard and not have to spray anything on it, not have to work hard at growing it. They just want to plant it and it be beautiful."

This is where you can find your favorite: the rose that will work the best in your home garden.

Ware says, "They've gotten a bad rap about being hard to grow, being temperamental, but there is a rose for everyone. There is a rose for every garden, every landscape. Anyone can grow roses. If I can do it, anyone can do it."

At this Shreveport garden, you can spend a day wandering, discovering and enjoying these American beauties.

The roses are reaching their peak blooming season now at the American Rose Center – a few miles west of Shreveport. For more information, go online to http://www.ars.org.