Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden

Rose Garden


The formal one-acre rose garden was established in 1971 and contains more than 3,000 roses of 345 labeled varieties. The collection includes popular modern hybrid roses, species roses, and various classes of heirloom or “Old Garden roses” (types grown before 1867). From late spring through fall, the roses present a changing scene of color, form, and fragrance. Peak bloom is celebrated in early June with the annual Rose Day Festival.

The rose garden and surrounding arboretum were part of the original Mettler Estate, which was once a working farm, dating back to the mid-1800s. In 1981, the garden was named in honor of Rudolf W. van der Goot, the first horticulturist with the Somerset County Park Commission, as a tribute to his efforts in designing and developing the garden.

The front garden was developed from features of the Mettler's formal garden. Today this area features modern hybrid roses, urns with tree roses, a fountain, and “The Grandmother's Garden”, a bed planted with roses popular through World War II.

The middle garden is framed by a rope trellis, which supports a variety of climbing roses and clematis, and beds with more of the modern hybrid rose collection. Along the garden's perimeter are heirloom roses, which are cherished for their full blooms and intense fragrance. The fence boasts some of the collection of rambling roses. The central walk is named in honor of Millicent Fenwick, a four-term New Jersey Congresswoman and United States representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture. These beds are planted with a special collection of polyantha and miniature roses and provide seating under a pergola covered with native wisteria and climbing roses.

The Dutch Garden is designed in the formal Dutch style, with raised beds framed by low-growing flowering plants. Here the collection of modern hybrid roses is continued, along with more heirloom roses, native and species roses, and pergolas covered in climbing roses.

The rose garden is the main attraction at Colonial Park Gardens, attracting thousands of visitors each week in the summer. A visit to the garden provides educational opportunities, including learning about rose care, what roses to grow in the home garden, and the rich history of roses. The garden is a wonderful place to be inspired, meet friends, bring out-of-town guests, and de-stress from the world. It is also a romantic setting for engagement and wedding photography.

The garden is free to visit and open April through October. Pets, picnics, and wedding ceremonies are not permitted. Guided tours can be arranged for a small fee.

Rose Classification and Cultivars

Rose Garden 2   Rose Garden 3


(April - October)
Monday: 8am – 6pm
Tuesday: 8am – 6pm
Wednesdays: 12pm – 6pm
Thursdays: 8am - 6pm   (May 18 to July 27): 8am to 8pm
Friday: 8am – 6pm
Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays: 10am – 6pm

Colonial Park (Lot A)
156 Mettlers Road
Somerset, NJ 08873

Suggested donation of $6 per adult and $3 per senior or child

Somerset County Park Commission
Horticulture Department
Colonial Park Gardens
156 Mettlers Road
Somerset, NJ 08873

Tel: 908 722-1200 ext. 5721
Fax: 732 873-3896
TTY: Use the NJ Relay Service @711 (for individuals with hearing/speech impairments)
E-mail the Colonial Park Gardens with any questions or comments.

Rose Garden - Colonial Park