DescriptionSituated on two and a half acres, the Breeze Hill estate in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was home to J. Horace McFarland (1859-1948), an avid gardener, leading proponent of the City Beautiful Movement, and environmental preservationist. Planting began in 1909 by McFarland. The informal garden rooms were made up of contoured beds. Over many years of planting, re-planting, testing new cultivars and replacing unsuccessful specimens it is estimated that more than 5,000 rose plants comprising 800 varieties were grown by McFarland. Although best known for roses, the garden at Breeze Hill also grew native plants, beds of spring bulbs, peonies, lilac and mock orange borders, and a lily pond.
Known as 'Doctor Rose,' J. Horace McFarland was president of the American Rose Society (1930-1932) and helped to transform it from a growers’ trade association to a venerable public institution, with the slogan “A rose for every home, a bush for every garden.” He was editor and publisher of American Rose Annual and American Rose Magazine (1916-1943), and established the generally-accepted rose identification and registration method. Breeze Hill’s gardens were used as trial sites for new rose cultivars. The 'Peace' rose, a French cultivar hybridized by Francis Meilland that was sent out of that country for safekeeping during World War II, was planted at Breeze Hill and popularized by the American Rose Society.
McFarland was an innovator in producing and printing color photography, and his company was pre-eminent in printing flower and seed catalogs, and other horticultural work. He produced about 50,000 photographs of specimen blooms or displays from his own garden and elsewhere that were made available for reproduction.
As president of the American Civic Association, McFarland promoted the "City Beautiful" movement in cities across the nation. He believed that "great parks are in the highest degree...a sheer expression of democracy" and could remedy many of society's ills. McFarland was also an advocate for the preservation of the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and the creation of the National Park Service.