Upcycle Final Report: Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden


When I thought about what I was going to do for my Upcycling Project, I immediately thought of flowers. I always have a fresh bouquet of flowers in my room. I researched a couple different famous rose garden’s and decided to do the Peggy Rockefeller rose garden, because I liked the story behind it. Peggy Rockefeller was passionate for flowers and always had her flower garden fresh and beautiful.  Her husband had a rose garden made for her and named it after her. The rose garden has over 600 varieties of roses.

My vision was simple, create something that will resemble a rose garden and the simplicity yet beauty of it. At first, I had trouble deciding what material to use, because there are so many different things that I could make roses out of. My grandmother was a fashion designer when she was younger, and I remember her teaching me all about fashion when I was little.  One thing she taught me was how to make roses out of ribbon.  There was a certain technique you had to endure to make the ribbon look just like a rose.  I wanted to make the flowers out of ribbon, however I do not have extra ribbon lying around and so I had to rule this out.  I decided to use paper instead.  I have lots of old engineering note pads that are too small and beat up to be used for my homework, and so they just sit around in my house. Instead of just letting them sit there, I decided why not use them as my roses material.

My technique was very similar to the technique my Grandmother used with her ribbons. Below, is a video of the technique I used. The videos have too much data to be played on this website, please download and play.

My design process ended up being a lot different than I had planned.  I imagined the project being pretty simple but looking beautiful.  This quickly changed.  I started out by using newspaper as the material for the flowers.  They ended up being really hard to make, because the paper was so thin and the different colors made it impossible to tell it was a rose.  I decided to use my recycled engineering paper instead.

My first idea was to used recycled newspaper, however it turned out to look bad.

My initial design process.

To repair my design process graphic, I need to account for the amount of trial and error time I spent learning how to construct the roses.  They were not a simple task and the amount of time I spent perfecting them was a lot more time than I had planned for. I had a dead end when I found out that the newspaper did not work for roses. If that could have been noted earlier on, I would have saved more time.

The Final Garden
Upclose in the Rose Garden.


I decided to put the roses on my window sill, to more resemble the fact that it is a rose garden.  I had them at first on the ground in a pattern, but I did not think it looked aesthetically pleasing.  I then put them on my window sill and decided it still was not enough. I added the candles to resemble the sun that shines in Peggy’s garden every day. I am actually pleased with the end result, because I was worried it would not turn out the way I wanted it too.

Rose Garden


My functional goals were to easily construct this and be able to make hundreds of roses. However, after learning how much time each rose took to make, I realized that my functional goal would not work.  I eventually had a good system for making each rose, but it still took me a long time to make them look nice.

My artistic goals were to make lots of roses and have the garden running all over my room.  I could not, however, find a way to do this, without consuming all of my time.  The roses did not turn out as beautiful as I expected either.  I imagine if I would have used nice color paper they would have looked better, however this would not have been upscaling. The engineering paper did not look as pretty as I wanted it to either.

I may choose to refine this artifact in the future. It was symbolic and emotional for me to make something that my grandmother taught how to do when I was very little. I may try it again some day, but next time I will try it with ribbon.  I will also use lots of different types of ribbon and so there are different textures and colors.  I did not do ribbon this first time, because I do not necessarily consider that Upcycling when you have to purchase it.

Click Below for Final Presentation:

Thank you for reading about my presentation.  I hope you enjoyed my live presentation.


  • “The New York Botanical Garden Presents Mario Batali’s Edible Garden.” The New York Botanical Garden Presents Mario Batali’s Edible Garden. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Feb. 2017.
  • “Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden | NYBG.” Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden | NYBG. New York Botanical Garden, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2017.
  • “Plant Talk » Rose Garden | NYBG.” Plant Talk RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Feb. 2017.


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8 Comments. Leave new

  • I thought this project was really creative, and the inspiration behind it was unique. It wound up looking really good and was very smart use of engineering paper! Your presentation also did a really good job of explaining your design process for the project and how you came to your final idea.

  • Love the use of the engineering paper. You iterated throughout which was nice. The videos were a great addition to the presentation to really give us an idea of what you were doing. The end product looked really nice!

  • This is a brilliant way to show the hidden beauty in engineering paper to a wide audience. The trial and error approach to achieve your desired aesthetic with the change of materials seems to have worked well for you. I really like your video time lapse of a couple of the process involved in making this. Pairing the flowers with candles actually made it look really nice. Great job!

  • I never knew how simple it was to make a rose or flower out of paper! Loved how you took inspiration from a real place and turned it into a piece or art. It was great to see how you took candles to add more light to setting you took the pictures into. Wondering if you could add some sort of stem to the flowers to make more of a garden seen. Maybe even add a picture of the real place in the background.

  • I really like that you used an engineering aesthetic along with the floral. In addition, I enjoyed your use of candles as the “sun” rising over the garden. You mentioned in later projects using ribbon and other colors and that would look very pretty! Good job on your project!

  • It’s interesting where you found the inspiration for your design concept from an old family hobby and the rose garden. I agree with you desire to use more colors or put them on a more permanent fixture. I think the comic book section would add a unique aesthetic spin to the layers of the roses.

  • Scott Lowenstein
    February 13, 2017 12:26 pm

    The inspiration and motivations given for the project were interesting to hear, as well as your personal fascination in the project. It was interesting to hear how you solved the challenges of making the materials work for the project. Seeing the process of making the roses was very fascinating. You are a very talented artist! The final aesthetic of the product was interesting and appealing to me for its combined engineering and floral design. I would love to see the flowers displayed around the engineering center for Valentine’s Day! Great job!

  • This is a really interesting idea. It’s a great way to recycle paper, especially the use of engineering paper. Perhaps the use of colored paper would make the roses look more realistic. The outcome looked really nice, great job.


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