NOW is the time to visit San Jose's Municipal Rose Garden, teeming with color and fragrance... and thornes. The multitude of roses are at their peak in blooming splendor, and a riot of color! City volunteers have been busy pruning and shaping plants in preparation for the annual invasion that began on Mother’s Day and will continue into early summer with weddings and graduation ceremonies. Of course, we had to visit early to enjoy this beautiful field of more than 4,000 blooming plants -- and especially to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We arrived in the morning to enjoy the fragrant gardens in the early light before the summer's heat along with the inevitable onslaught of couples, grandparents, and families with children. Who doesn't like roses?
About a mile away, along the Guadalupe River is another garden that's a bit more primative but just as interesting. This is the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden. The city has transformed this once vacant land (beneath the airport flight path) into a museum of roses.
The garden is planted with heritage and modern rose species so you can wander down the paths and compare the development of the varieties throughout the centuries. There are hybrid teas, floribundas, old garden and shrub roses of every conceivable kind. This garden is less formal than its sister, the Municipal Garden, up the road but I like it better because it's more like my backyard -- a work in progress. I can identify with the hard work required to plant, fertilize, prune, water, weed, and care for this priceless collection of roses.
Throughout the year they have plant sales and offer pruning classes for hands-on education. If you have a spare morning, I recommend you visit the two gardens and decide for yourself which is more to your liking. They're both open to the public with plenty of parking, and the price of admission is well worth it -- it's FREE.