Hot pink, fuchsia, magenta, dusty rose and pale pastel pink. Home to over a hundred different types of roses, the rose garden at Meilahti Arboretum in Helsinki is a veritable smorgasbord of all imaginable shades of pink. In addition to being a feast for flower-loving eyes, a stroll in the garden is a pleasure for the sense of smell. Exploring the rose garden in Meilahti is a must for all rose and flower enthusiasts, but as it’s also part of a larger park area, it’s a pleasant place to go to for a summer stroll or picnic. Visiting is free and super simple as the garden is easily accessible by public transportation and car. The garden is open 24/7. Here’s all you need to know to plan your visit!
When to visit: It’s all about timing
Photo: Some of the last rose buds still waiting to bloom.
Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don’t. Arriving at the rose garden in Meilahti Arboretum, located in Helsinki, we realise that we’re a bit late. The prime time for admiring the rose fest that this garden provides would probably have been a week, possible even two, ago. Many of the rose types have already flowered; some have the occasional pink burst of colour left.
Usually the roses at the rose garden – the Rosarium – bloom from mid-June to mid-August, peaking in late June and early July. Although we visited the 6th of July, which in theory could have been a good time to visit, this year, the roses seem to have been a bit early, perhaps due to the warm June weather.
Luckily, there were still enough blooming roses to make our visit magical! I just can’t get enough of flowers and when it comes to blossom I feel the more colourful and powerfully scented, the better. Roses have always been one of my favourite flowers for these reasons.
Photo: At first glance it seemed there would be nothing to see, as most of the roses had already bloomed. The Rosarium is home to many different species of roses and they don’t all bloom simultaneously. Fortunately, as we explored a little, we found there was still some pink left to admire.
What to see: A display of over a hundred types of roses
Photo: The scent of hundreds of roses in full bloom was magical! It was interesting how the different species of roses all had their own distinct fragrance.
Even though many of us have probably seen both red roses and pink ones, large ones and smaller ones, few of us realise how many varieties there actually are. There are several hundreds different species of roses and thousands of hybrids! In the Rosarium in Meilahti over a hundred of these species and hybrids are showcased.
All the roses in the Rosarium are shrub roses, but there’s also a pergola with climbing roses and clematis as well as some other perennials here and there. The rose shrubs are grouped together according to their historical or botanical background, forming neat rows spread out as a fan over a compact area.
Photo:There was plenty of buzzing action going on. The mesmerising perfumes coming from the flowers are irresistible to both humans and bees alike.
Visitors can admire European historic roses as well as Finnish varieties. The latter includes well-known traditional varieties, new Finnish hybrids and also many old, unidentified types of roses that have been found in different parts of Finland.
The historic European roses include cabbage roses, moss roses, the French Rose and the Damascus Rose.
History: When was the rose garden founded and why
Photo: The Rosarium – and the Meilahti Arboretum it forms a part of – is situated on the grounds of the former Meilahti Manor.
Although the rose garden – the Rosarium – got its first roses in 1991, many seem to regard 2007 as the year the rose garden was officially founded. The Rosarium underwent major renovations in 2006-2007 and most of the roses were replaced during this time.
The Rosarium is part of the Meilahti Arboretum. Meilahti Arboretum was founded in 1967 by the Park Unit of the Public City Works Department with the aim to be an educational park for everyone interested in plants. The arboretum has several different collections of groups of plants, for example trees and shrubs.
The Rosarium acts as a display for different types of roses, both Finnish and European. A visit to the Roasarium is an excellent way to get acquainted with different kinds of roses.
The types of roses on display were selected by the Finnish Rose Society, which has since helped maintain the Rosarium.
In 2017 the Rosarium celebrated its ten-year anniversary with some new Finnish rose species being presented to the public and planted in the Rosarium.
How to visit: Open 24/7
Photo: The information board contains information about what kind of different roses can be seen in the Rosarium.
The Rosarium is part of a park, the Meilahti Arboretum, and it’s open to the public around the clock. Entering is free and you can walk about independently as you please. The Rosarium is accessible by wheelchair and with prams. Dogs are allowed (but of course must be kept on a leash).
Compared to for example the Rhododendron Park in Helsinki during peak blossom, the Rosarium feels almost deserted. No crowds, just peace and quiet.
The roses are grouped together in neat rows, spread out as a fan. Visitors can admire the roses from paths going along the rows of roses. The area is fairly small and easily navigated. We walked around in a haphazard manner, following scent and colour at random.
Photo: Picture of the information board with a map of the different varieties of roses. They’re organised in groups depending on their history or botanical background.
There are plenty of strategically positioned benches, were visitors can rest their weary feet whilst admiring the beautiful roses in full bloom.
To help visitors know what they’re looking at there’s an information board providing a great overview of the area and the different rose groups. In addition to this there’s a small metallic plate next to each type of rose with its name as well as any other information available, like when the rose species was created.
However, the amount of information is pretty limited, Those who want to know more detailed information about the species and their origin will have to resort to the search engines of the internet. Personally I felt the information provided was enough, as I merely wanted to admire the roses.
From time to time there are guided tours of the rose garden during summer. Follow the Finnish Rose Society on Facebook to stay tuned about upcoming tours.
Photo: Getting to the Rosarium is easy as several buses stop nearby and there’s also parking.
The Rosarium is located within Meilahti Arboretum. The arboretum is a park nestled in between Johannesbergintie, Meilahdentie and Paciuksenkatu. The address is simply Johannesbergintie.
Not far away from the centre of Helsinki, the Rosarium is easily accessible by public transportation. Buses 14, 18, 39, 58, 194, 195, 206, 212, 213, 502, 551 and tram number 4 stop nearby at Paciuksenkaari on Paciuksenkatu. Passengers travelling with bus number 24 can stop at either bus stop Heikkiniementie or Seurasaari, from where the Rosarium is within walking distance.
For those travelling by car, there’s parking right at the beginning of Johannesbergintie, by Meilahdentie. Parking is free, but limited to four hours (which is more than enough to explore the Rosarium).
Photo: It should be obvious, but I managed to forget that roses have thorns. So in case you’re inspecting the flowers closer remember this little detail.
Here are the most important facts in a nutshell:
- The rose garden (the Rosarium) is located in Meilahti in Helsinki. You’ll find it by Johannesbergintie.
- It’s open 24/7 and visiting the park is free.
- Dogs are allowed.
- No toilets or portable potties available.
- No cafés or kiosques.
- Reserve some 15-30 minutes to see the Rosarium, more if you wish to explore the rest of the park.
- Easily accessible by public transportation.
- Parking area nearby.