San Jose Heritage Rose Garden

Last Saturday, I volunteered at the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden. The SJHRG is a 4 acre garden near the San Jose airport created in the 1980s. The land was cleared for airport safety, and a proposal was made to create a garden with the empty space. There are over 4,000 roses planted here. The mission of the SJHRG is to preserve rose species. They collect roses from all over the world and maintain them here. There are four criteria they use when deciding which roses to include in their collection:

  1. Roses that are obviously rare or endangered now.
  2. Roses so great that they must be shown to the public
  3. Roses they feel will be rare in the future.
  4. Roses that are important to the history of rose hybridizing.

It is entirely volunteer maintained — all of the weeding, pruning, and collecting of roses is done by volunteers. Even the people who organize volunteer groups like the one I joined last Saturday are volunteers.

Rose season is nearly over here in the bay area, so most of these roses were past their prime.

Our task last Saturday was weeding. Below is the area where I was working. See all that dead straw-like material? All weeds.

Here’s how it looked after. Meh. Not very impressive. This little bit too me a little over two hours. It was dry and dusty.

The volunteers also host pruning classes in the winter, so people in the community can learn how to take care of their roses. Although I’m glad I got to see the rose garden, I probably won’t go back to volunteer again. San Jose is a bit of a drive for me, and I don’t like rose that much to make it worth the trip.

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