In 1962 , the McGills opened the garden to the public for the first time on Mother's Day, and it was opened year-round in 1967. The property was sold to the city in 1975 with stipulations: that the garden would remain on the property, and that the McGills would maintain and care for it as long as they wanted. Henry helped with the garden until his death, at 103 years old in 2007.
The McGill Rose Garden Foundation, a non-profit organization, was formed in 1996 to fulfill Henry and Helen's dream of keeping the garden alive for visitors to enjoy in the future.
Overhead photo taken in the 1950s
In 1950, Henry McGill purchased land that was home to a coal yard owned by W.A. Avant . Avant, owner of Avant Fuel and Ice Co., sold the property to Henry, who kept the coal business running for a while afterwards. Helen McGill, Henry's wife, decided to beautify the area by planting two rose bushes. Helen eventually earned the title of "The Rose Lady" as she added numerous rose beds over three decades to the property. Henry lovingly maintained the garden long after Helen's death in 1985.