Roses in Raleigh (I Beg Your Pardon!)

Recently we were traveling through North Carolina en route to the Outer Banks, when I remembered hearing about a big rose garden in Raleigh.  Our stomachs were growling so we stopped to stretch and have brunch. 

You might think the obvious song for this blog would be Lynn Anderson’s jam “Rose Garden” with those snappy lyrics “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.” Admittedly, it was one of three songs playing on loop in my head the whole time we were there.

Neil Diamond’s “Spanish Harlem” also blasted through my brain. “There is a rose…” named after Neil and I was really hoping to see one up close. (Spoiler: no dice.)


Photo of the Neil Diamond hybrid rose, shared from


The third song, my pick for this blog, was Kon Kan’s “I Beg Your Pardon” and it samples a few lines from “Rose Garden.”

Raleigh Rose Garden is located behind the Raleigh Little Theatre, a community staple since 1936. Very few theatres in the USA have been in constant operation as long as the Little Theatre, and you can read its extensive history here


In 1951, the garden was completed and became a registered park with the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department. It is one of just three accredited gardens in the state. 


The collection typically includes around 60 varieties of roses arranged in separate beds, and all of the beds form an elongated U-shape. 


A wood and stone pergola outlines the perimeter, separating the roses from a small arboretum surrounding the garden. 




I love visiting botanical gardens, but this one is unique because it is designated for roses only, and I have never seen so many in one place. 


Here are a few of my favourites: 


Stephenson Amphitheater is another lovely addition to the Little Theatre, next to the gardens. It holds seating for up to two thousand people in an elevated fan shape. 



After visiting the garden, we could not resist a quick drive-by at the Capital Building on the way to brunch. 


Most restaurants we passed were packed, so we chose the vibrant Flying Biscuit Cafe. I found out later that they are small chain restaurant, but all locations are within the local southern region so I can give this one a mention.

Starting off with hot coffee, a fluffy biscuit, and cranberry-apple butter was dreamy. 


We shared the Açaí Super Bowl with blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, banana, granola, walnuts, coconut, and chia seeds plus an order of French Toast with raspberry jam and honey. 


Because we did not know about the huge portions, we had also ordered the Oven-Fried Chicken entrée with spicy collard greens and grilled macaroni and cheese. We took about half of it to go!


Our visit was short and sweet, but not bad for a two-break!

There are so many places on my list for our return, like the City of Raleigh Museum, North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina Museum of Natural Science, North Carolina Museum of History, and parks like the William B. Ulmstead State Park, Juniper Level Botanic Garden, Historic Yates Mill County Park, JC Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh Market, Historic Oak View Country Park, and Pullen Amusement Park. Any suggestions?

For now, follow us to Manteo on Roanoke Island and the Outer Banks! 

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