San Jose Municipal Rose Garden

Naglee & Dana Ave. CA

I realize the US Constitution does not promise her citizens a rose garden but it is lovely when citizens and elected officials figure out a way to provide one anyway.  The early 20th century was a grand time for advocating for public green space for all people.  In 1927 the Santa Clara County Rose Society advocated for establishing a community rose garden.  The rose society promised  to provide the roses, the city set aside 5 1/2 acres of land just outside the city and the idea began to grow.


The agreement continues 84 years later and today I wandered through rows and rows of beautiful roses.  Citizens raised funds for the entrance, the two tiered water fountain, the arbor and other improvements.  “The Garden is exclusively devoted to shrubs of the rose family and features over 4,000 rose shrubs with 189 varieties represented. The Garden is operated and maintained by the City of San José.” (SJP website)

The Friends of the Rose Garden came to the garden’s rescue when in 2007 the municipal budgets were cut to such a degree the garden began to suffer.  Today this non-profit organization coordinates the care of the roses to keep the garden beautiful.  In January, for pruning time, over 900 volunteers show up to care for the roses.



The American Rose Society recognizes this rose garden as one of the best in the nation.  How much richer are our lives and our communities when gardens and green spaces provide a place to enjoy the beauty of nature.  That is hard to quantify and perhaps that isn’t what we need to do quantify its value.  Instead it is worth the time to wander into the rose garden and enjoy the view.

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