Friday, May 15, 2009

Things are rosy in San Jose

Portland, Oregon, bears the official nicknamed of the Rose City. But maybe San Jose, California, deserves to be called Rose City II (or, too). The city boasts two outstanding rose gardens and this is the month to tour them both. Floral displays are at their peak and both gardens are free.

Check out the Heritage Rose Garden at Taylor and Spring streets, for a variety of bloomers, from lilacs to roses. It's just off Guadalupe Gardens and Guadalupe River Park and makes for a nice afternoon stroll.

Then swing by the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden at Naglee and Dana avenues, in the heart of the Rose Garden Neighborhood. The garden covers more than 5 acres, with more than 3,500 rose bushes and some 180 varieties.

You'll get a sneak preview of top roses here: the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden receives All-America Rose Selections (AARS) award-winning roses before they're released to the public. Funding cuts threatened the health (and AARS accreditation) of the garden, but in 2007, the nonprofit Friends of the San Jose Rose Garden rode to the rescue, clippers in hand. This year, the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden was "rededicated as an official All-America Rose Selections Test Garden, one of 23 in the USA and the only one in Northern California," according to Wikipedia. But the garden still needs volunteers and donations.

Want to learn how to help, or to deadhead your own rose bushes? Check out the Friends of the San Jose Rose Garden and their blog, for rose growing tips and upcoming events.

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COPYRIGHT Lora Finnegan 2008-2009

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