Califonia Bountiful

Pat's Garden Travels

May/June 2020 California Bountiful magazine

California offers a wealth of public gardens to discover. Join our gardening expert Pat Rubin as she travels up and down the state, bringing you the best of her travels to inspire yours.

There's no such thing as too many roses. May and June are among the kindest months for California gardeners, and prime time for roses. There are dozens of public rose gardens scattered throughout the state, each sporting thousands of roses of all types: old roses, modern roses, hybrid teas, climbing roses, shrub roses—the list goes on. I'm surprised the whole state isn't faintly rose scented these months. Here are a few you should check out.

Fredrick N. Evans Rose Garden
McKinley Park
3255 H St., Sacramento

McKinley Park is a family park. It's surrounded by homes in one of Sacramento's older neighborhoods. At most any time of day, you'll see plenty of families with children playing in the park. But the crown jewel of McKinley Park is the rose garden. Walk under one of several arbors to enter the garden. It boasts more than 1,200 roses of all types. It's a great place to stroll among the roses, or simply take a seat and relax.

San Jose Municipal Rose Garden
Dana and Naglee Avenues, San Jose

The San Jose Municipal Rose Garden is an old one—it dates back to 1927. The garden is large, about 5 1/2 acres, and features almost 4,000 roses representing about 200 varieties.

This former prune orchard is exclusively dedicated to roses. The season starts in April, but you can see plenty of roses blooming all the way until October or November in San Jose's mild climate. The majority of the roses are hybrid teas, about 75%, but there are plenty of old-fashioned roses in the garden as well.

Berkeley Rose Garden
1200 Euclid Ave., Berkeley

This historic rose garden not only offers visitors the chance to see more than 250 varieties of roses, but also offers stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. It's an old Works Progress Administration project that went from an idea in 1933 to completion in 1937. Local rose societies donated roses and hundreds of volunteer hours to make the garden a reality.

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