Restoration of the Rose Garden re-instated the complex swirling layout first produced in Victorian times. Recent research indicates that the designer was John Law not the first Curator, Robert Marnock. This had been changed to a rectilinear design in the early 1950s. Today’s plantings demonstrate the history of the rose. Rambler and climbing roses have been included – to give height to the final design – and also to give perfumed protection to the many seats located within the garden. These shrubs are supported on tripods, or on elegant, locally-made, metal swags. There has been the most wonderful public support for this garden, through sponsorship of all the roses.
At the centre of the Rose Garden stands the restored statue of Pan, Spirit of the Woods. This was donated to the City of Sheffield in 1934 by Sir Charles Clifford and moved to the Gardens in 1952. Pan and all his attendant animals, imps and birds are hugely popular, with favourite animals polished by generations of fingers. After 50 years of affection and weathering, however, Pan was in real need of extensive delicate care. The statue has been beautifully restored, (but without his musical pipe), and the finished work looks wonderful.
The Magnolia collection lies next to the Rose Garden. It contains older specimens and has been increased with several new plants in recent years.