Report: 2020 Lehigh County Grant

Mount Airy Neighborhood Association
Subgrant: Bethlehem Rose Garden Revitalization Project, $5000Final report, December 2020

In accordance with the submitted revised budget, two consultants, Pam Ruch and Stephen Scanniello,  were engaged to do new plant selection, design and mapping for the historic Bethlehem Rose Garden, in need of care and maintenance.

An online community meeting was held on December 1 led by Pam Ruch, in which Mr. Scanniello also participated. Attendees included  members of MANA, Bethlehem Backyards for Wildlife, the Bethlehem Garden Club and the new Lehigh Valley Rose Society, along with volunteers who had worked on maintenance of the Rose Garden over the summer and members of the press. The public learned about the meeting through social media. The Zoom meeting, hosted by Mary Toulouse, president of MANA, introduced contemporary ideas about community and institutional rose gardens shared by our consultants. In particular, they described trends toward introducing a broader variety of flowering plants within rose gardens to reach a larger public, and to improve the garden’s environmental impact through supporting beneficial insects and reducing disease. Attended by an estimated 38 neighbors and local gardeners, the meeting also included a discussion session in which participants voiced support for the revitalization and offered suggestions.

Following the meeting, Stephen and Pam developed plant lists, created and plotted plans and investigated and initiated ordering. The original budget had included the creation of a base map, but we found that a map developed by the City showing the outlines of the beds and the various structures within the garden was serviceable, reasonably accurate, and readily reproducible in a large format for our designers to use to map plant locations.

As a result of this discovery, we were able to increase the amount devoted to the plant orders for Spring 2021, encompassing not only the core rose beds but the beginning of mixed rose/perennial beds. Mary Toulouse, as president of MANA, executed the ordering process to expedite the completion of payments during the holiday season.

MANA is very grateful to the County for this grant, which enabled an excellent planning process for the revitalization of this historic garden, plus the purchase of a selection of roses and other flora that will move the plan forward in a significant way.  In addition to a planned fundraiser this spring, the organization will seek additional funding to expedite the populating of the remaining beds in accordance with the plans created through the grant. The organization is also planning a summer event in coordination with the Rose Garden Farmers Market to highlight the transformation of the Garden and encourage visitors and tourism in the park.


12 President Herbert Hoover roses
40 roses, 8 varieties
5 Soul Sister shrub roses
Design of rose beds, selection of roses
30 groundcover roses, 2 varieties
Design, program, perennial selection, mapping
Perennials — alchemilla, nepeta, thymus