Laura Conyers Smith
Municipal Rose Garden
Kansas City, Missouri

James S. Aber


The Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden is located in Loose Park at 52nd and Pennsylvania, near the Plaza and Westport districts. The rose garden was conceived in 1931 during the Great Depression. The present garden contains around 4000 rose plants of nearly 150 varieties on 1 acres. Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2006, the rose garden is a cooperative venture between the Kansas City Rose Society and the Parks and Recreation Department of Kansas City, Missouri.

Schematic plan of the formal design of the rose garden consisting of a large oval and walkways running north-south and east-west. North to top; modified from Goheen and Volz (1978).


Aerial photographs were acquired from a helium blimp by college students during a class field trip in mid June 2006--see ES 555. Rose blooming had already passed its peak as a consequence of a warm, dry spring. Both oblique and vertical views were taken with Canon digital Elph (SD600) and Canon S70 cameras. Light northerly breeze made the blimp somewhat difficult to control and manoeuvre into positions over selected targets.

Overview of the northern portion of Loose Park. Portion of the rose garden to left; other gardens, picnic area, and park buildings to right. 51st Street runs across the top edge of scene.
View directly northward over the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden. Notice the oval outline of the formal garden with a fountain at the center. Pergolas are spaced along the outer gravel path, and walkways run N-S and E-W across the garden. The garden extends northward to a pavilion and westward into a small terrace (left edge of scene).
Vertical shot of the main oval and west terrace (top of view). Compare with schematic plan above. Shadow of the blimp appears along bottom edge of scene.
Closer view of the main oval and west terrace (top of scene). Notice distinctive shadows cast by the pergolas around the perimeter path. Planning is underway to renovate the west terrace portion of the garden.
Closeup vertical view of the new fountain at center of the rose garden. Rebuilding and installation of the limestone fountain was completed in 2002. The rim of the fountain is surrounded by boxwood hedge. Notice water jets and sun glitter from the pool.
Situated adjacent to the rose garden are tennis courts and a new children's play area (left). Near vertical view; south toward top.
Vertical closeup shot of two tennis courts. Two players are on the right court; notice numerous tennis balls lying around the court. North toward top.
Closeup vertical view of the children's play area. Note picnic blankets on the ground around the play area.

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All images © by the author, J.S. Aber (2006).