Monday, February 15, 2010

My World Tuesday--the Rose Garden

On Tuesdays, bloggers all over share a little piece of the world. You can find their entries here.

One day last week as I was headed into town I saw this activity near the Palacios Parkway--the section of the Lower Valley Pathway that opens up into an entryway park to the community.
The sign had gone up announcing the Grandview Rose Garden.
City workers were doing some preparation work, removing sod, adding topsoil, etc.

The Grandview Rose Garden has a long history. I remember writing a feature about it when I worked at the local newspaper in 1988. It has been located in Westside Park, west of city center near the city swimming pool. Whether the garden is being moved, replaced, or a duplicate effort is being made is still a mystery to me. It could be being moved with thoughts for expansion and rebuilding of the pool at some future time.

Here is the story I wrote in 1988, interspersed with images I have taken there in the last couple of years.

A bright spot worthy of note, the Grandview Rose Garden, located in Westside Park near the city pool, is a colorful accomplishment of a dedicated group of women working over a period of years.

Why a rose garden? "Most small towns have a small rose garden," stated Grandview Garden Club president Barbara Ballard. "The members of the time chose that as their project."

"There was nothing here but weeds and alkali," said Sue Marble, who has been part of the club since the early 1950's when they started the garden from scratch. "We set out the plan. We dug the paths down and built up the beds to provide drainage.

"We couldn't afford to plant the whole thing at one time, so we used chrysanthemums, iris, and other flowers to fill in until we could buy more roses," she remembered.

Rock edgings were later put in to hold the soil so the beds would not fall down. Early volunteers cleaned chicken houses for manure, using everything they could get a hold of to build up the soil.

The garden now has about 1,000 rose bushes. At one time all were labeled, but most of the markers have been pulled out. Most are hybrid teas, but there are also climbers, old fashioned briars, and floribundas.

"We always buy top grade patented roses," said Ballard. "We generally get the new ones that have just been developed."

Many of the beds were given as donations or as memorials. "Some people want a certain color or a rose in a certain bed for a memorial," Ballard continued. "We work with them on that."

The Grandview Garden Club's annual plant sale provides the funding for upkeep. The amount of expenditure usually depends on the weather.

Upkeep has included replacing winter-damaged plants in bad weather years--about 85 plants in the worst year. A sprinkler system was installed at a cost of about $2,000. The beds were watered by hand in the earliest days of the gardens.

In most years upkeep is largely labor, some replacement, and the expense and work of spraying. At least 10 to 15 volunteer hours are spent each week during the summer season.

Grandview Garden Club members, of whom there are about 18, gather each Wednesday morning to work in the rose garden--sometimes as many as nine, other times as few as three. Weeding and pruning are ongoing projects. The pruning done now will result in continuous bloom all summer. The heaviest bloom is in June and September.

Out of town visitors who discover this community treasure are always impressed. A gentleman strolling through the garden as members pruned the other day compared it favorably with big city gardens.

"We have tried to get signs on the highways so that tourists would be aware of it," stated Ballard. "But we have not been able to accomplish that."
Grandview Herald, July 6, 1988

I believe that the ladies I interviewed in 1988 are no longer with us. I'm not sure if the Garden Club still survives. Its members twenty years ago were already elderly. I am glad the Rose Garden will continue, in whatever form. It inspired me in the last few years--since I retired myself--to plant roses in my own yard. It is a thing of beauty that should be available for all residents and visitors.


Sylvia K said...

Lovely post and gorgeous photos! So very worthwhile! I can understand why it is so important to you. Thanks for sharing! Have a great week!


Paulie said...

What a neat post concerning your involvement! (You might want to check the word in the next to last paragraph tho.)

We have a beautiful rose garden in Esther Short Park downtown.

noel said...

wow, beautiful roses, can't believe they are already blooming this time of the year!

katney said...

Thanks, Paulie. Spellcheck found that but didn't tell me where it was and I couldn't find it.

Brit Gal Sarah said...

A great post and original article, how wonderful this will continue.

katney said...

Noel, they are not blooming now. The blooming pictures are from last summer.

®ø$åðìɱåggìø63 ღ said...

molto belle queste rose, peccato che noi bloggers non possiamo sentirne il profumomo :-)
felice carnevale.

Lianne said...

those flowers are beautiful!! love the vibrant colors.

Hameed Nori said...

Excellent shots! i liked these tulip flowers. very nice