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New sundial provides quiet time to stop and smell the roses

Birchwood Garden Club member Cheryl Haak, left, and club president Judy Boxx will mark the centennial of roses at Cornwall Rose Garden with the dedication of a new sundial at the garden at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 21. The garden is at West Illinois Street and Cornwall Avenue.
Birchwood Garden Club member Cheryl Haak, left, and club president Judy Boxx will mark the centennial of roses at Cornwall Rose Garden with the dedication of a new sundial at the garden at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 21. The garden is at West Illinois Street and Cornwall Avenue. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

What better place than a rose garden to sit and pass the time without the intrusive ticking of a clock?

That’s why a sundial at Cornwall Rose Garden makes perfect sense. But the sundial that used to grace the garden had been vandalized, so Birchwood Garden Club has replaced it.

The new sundial and pedestal will be dedicated Thursday, July 21, in a ceremony that is, well, timely. It was 100 years ago, in 1916, that the first roses were planted at the small park.

The park is located at West Illinois Street and Cornwall Avenue, near the south entrance to Cornwall Park. The land and roses are cared for by Bellingham’s parks department.

It’s a good place to go and find what would grow well is this area.

Zapote Gregory, volunteer steward at Cornwall Rose Garden

The two-acre plot was acquired for a park in 1906. Originally called Illinois Street Park, the site became known as Cornwall Rose Garden in the late 1930s.

Cornwall was Bellingham’s first rose garden. The second, at Fairhaven Park, began one year later, in 1917.

The Cornwall garden is one the oldest rose gardens in the country, said Zapote Gregory, who tends the garden and has researched its history as a volunteer park steward. Some of the roses there have flourished since the 1950s, she said.

“It’s a good place to go and find what would grow well is this area,” Gregory said.

The Fairhaven rose garden was near that park’s caretaker’s house. Deer and disease put an end to the Fairhaven roses in the 1980s, and the caretaker’s house has been remodeled into Chuckanut Center, a nonprofit focused on helping people to grow and preserve food.

The rose was declared the national flower in 1985. At Cornwall Rose Garden, you’ll find close to 50 varieties.

The sundial stands close to a bench near the middle of the rose garden.

“It’s a place to sit and reflect and enjoy the roses,” said Cheryl Haak, secretary of Birchwood Garden Club.

It’s also a good place to follow the advice on the sundial: “Take time to smell the roses.”

Cornwall Rose Garden event

When: 1 p.m. Thursday, July 21.

What: Birchwood Garden Club will dedicate a new sundial and pedestal, marking the centennial of roses at the city park at West Illinois Street and Cornwall Avenue. The public is welcome.

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