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The Jane Shafer Rose Garden provides a colorful centerpiece to the landscape of the Governor’s Residence. Dedicated by former First Lady Jane Shafer in 1970, the garden features over 250 roses of thirteen different cultivators.

The garden was designed by Mr. James Bob of Hershey Estates and provides a spectacular show of color from mid-May through September.

Visitors can experience the beauty first hand. Each second Sunday from June through September, the people of Pennsylvania are invited to explore the Governor’s Residence gardens from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Each event will highlight a specific theme and feature outdoor, family-friendly activities.


Helene Flowering Hibiscus Shrub
Scientific Name: Hibiscus syriacus ‘Helene'

In order to give the hybrid tea roses a little more vertical structure in their planting beds, a pair of Helene Hibiscus shrubs was added to the ends of both the north and south central rose beds between the State Dining Room doors and the pergola. These compliment the Purple Smokebush shrubs planted in each corner rose bed of the Rose Garden.

Although all of these Hibiscus and Purple Smokebush shrubs planted in the rose beds could easily grow to be over 9’ tall and wide, they will be selectively pruned to remain at a height of about 5-6’ with a spread no greater than 3-4’. We simply want these shrubs to provide a vertical accent within the beds and not overpower the roses.

The white flowers have a reddish-purple base whose color matches the purple foliage of the Smokebush shrubs located in the Rose Garden’s corners.

This cultivar tolerates a wide range of soils and does well in full sun or partial shade.

Pruning should be done in early spring. However, if selectively pruned later in the season, branches that were not cut back will still bloom.


Catmint Perennial Flower
Scientific Name: Nepeta x faassenii

This classic edging plant, which generally grows 1-2’ tall, lines the edges of the new Grand Hall Terrace in the West Lawn Garden area. It also is the primary edging plant around the traditional rose beds in the Rose Garden.

The beautiful and delicate lavender to blue flowers bloom profusely in late spring through early summer.

Catmint has no serious insect or disease problems and grows best in full sun in well-drained soils. Division is not necessary unless additional plants are needed and if they are, spring division works best.

When Catmint is finished blooming in early summer, the entire plant should be cut back by one-third to one-half to keep it more compact and attractive through the rest of the year.

If plants turn yellow and open up in the center, as they will in certain years if the conditions are right, cut them back by two-thirds immediately after flowering.


Pardon Me Daylily Perennial Flower
Scientific Name: Hemerocallis ‘Pardon Me’

This mid-season blooming daylily reblooms throughout the summer with intense winered flowers, is very vigorous and grows about 20” tall. It is one of the most popular of the newer daylilies on the market due to its intense color saturation, long blooming period and ease of maintenance. Pardon Me Daylilies grow in the border along the eastern edge of the Rose Garden (between the brick sidewalk and brick wall near Second Street).

Daylilies can grow in partial shade but they do better and flower more profusely in full sun. They prefer well-drained soils that have been enriched with organic materials. Since daylily flowers only last one day, Pardon Me Daylilies must be deadheaded everyday to keep the flower display looking attractive. It is important to snap off the entire flower, not just the petals, when deadheading.

Insects and diseases rarely bother daylilies, although this cultivar can be susceptible to the new daylily rust disease that is infesting certain cultivars of this species. The best defense against this disease is to keep the plants as healthy, vigorous and stress-free as possible.

Unfortunately, this daylily rust disease is very aggressive. If it is found, control methods such as using three different fungicides alternatively, and carefully cutting back or removing infected plants or plant parts, must be started immediately. Burning, burying, or tightly bagging (not composting) any infected plants or plant parts must be done as soon as damage is noticed, in order to limit spore dispersal.