March 30, 2016

A San Diego Jewel: Balboa Park's Rose Garden

trellis gazebo

During our recent trip to San Diego in mid-March, I had a few brief (much too brief) opportunities to visit botanical sites. While my husband and son toured the world-famous San Diego Zoo, I decided to spend the afternoon exploring adjacent Balboa Park. In some ways, that was a mistake--only because there were simply too many wonders to experience during a few brief hours.

One highlight was the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden. Featuring more than 2,400 roses in nearly 200 varieties, the garden was just beginning to bloom during my visit. I can only imagine how stunning it must be throughout April and May.

fountain

The fountain along one edge of the garden wasn't flowing during this photo, but it allows you to see the nearby Desert Garden, which I hope to cover in a future post. The City of San Diego Park & Recreation Department website offers a few photos that illustrate the circular design of the rose garden--one sphere surrounding the fountain and the other surrounding the sitting area, shaded by a rose-covered trellis.

Here's a small sampling of the early bloomers I noticed during my visit. Most roses in this garden are listed as hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9, or zone 10 along the dry West Coast. The first six are floribundas.

easter basket

Fitting for the season, 'Easter Basket' is a multicolored beauty. Depending on its stage of bloom, the flower color varies from creamy yellow to shades of pink.

betty boop

'Betty Boop' produces semi-double blooms from spring to fall. The glossy, dark green foliage provides an attractive frame for its colorful flowers.

burgundy iceberg

'Burgundy Iceberg' shines in dappled shade. I suppose that sounds incongruous, but the rich tones of this lush rose appear a little more washed out in the sunshine.

jump for joy

'Jump for Joy' seems aptly named. The peachy-pink flowers have golden centers.

walking on sunshine

I probably wouldn't stop at this one, except for the name: 'Walking on Sunshine.' The USDA hardiness zone is a little warmer, at 6 to 9, although some sources list it at zone 5.

showbiz

Various sources list 'Showbiz' with a wider USDA hardiness range--from 4 to 10. I tend to favor the pinks and peaches, but this rose is classy and really captures attention.

mother of pearl

Imagine a bouquet of 'Mother of Pearl.' This grandiflora fits that sweet spot of pink with peachy overtones that makes my heart jump.

elle

'Elle' is a hybrid tea rose with 5-inch blooms. Google search images for "rain drop roses elle hybrid tea" for some stunning eye candy. This one is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 10.

brigadoon

'Brigadoon," another hybrid tea, has a pinky-coral bloom that intensifies as it ages. I remember this one as being much more attractive in person. The shape and color are exquisite.

yabba dabba doo

Who can pass by a shrub rose with the name 'Yabba Dabba Doo'? In addition to its quirky name, this plant's flowers are eye-catching--resting upright and flat atop the foliage.

gold medal 1

This final rose of my post seems noteworthy for its beauty in all stages of blooming. Fully open, the gentle petals of 'Gold Medal,' another hybrid tea, are luscious.

gold medal 2

gold medal 3

And 'Gold Medal' is equally lovely as a gentle bud.

trellis

If you need a break from activity, the rose garden also features a circular sitting area, shaded by a lovely rose-covered trellis.

This jewel of a destination is one of many at San Diego's Balboa Park, where you could spend weeks and still find new wonders to explore.

62 comments:

  1. This rose garden looks like a rose lovers dream.

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    1. Yes, I would say that's true. I find most rose gardens fit that description. :) I don't grow many roses, myself, but I do appreciate them!

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  2. I was at Balboa Park in the early 1970s and was not interested in gardening so I haven't a clue about what i might have missed. Even though I pretty much stay away from growing roses, it is hard to think of a flower more beautiful. I love them climbing over the pavilion.

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    1. I seem to remember a brief tour at one point during a business trip, but now I know I need to spend more time there! I agree re: growing roses. I only have a few and they are challenging. I love to view them and photograph them in other gardens, however.

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  3. The roses are lovely, whish we could smell them through the screen
    Amanda xx

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    1. Some were powerfully scented and others were not. I've published many posts on rose gardens over the years, and I have yet to find a way to relay the scents via the Internet. ;-)

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  4. I can see why you wish you would have had more time to spend there. Given that Spring is hardly starting in our climates, it must have been very pleasant.

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    1. Yes, indeed, it was! And when we got back home, spring had started. Now it's flip-flopping, but at least there's hope. ;-) Anyway, San Diego is a great place for a spring break!

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  5. Hi Beth, I am so glad that you got to visit the rose garden in Balboa Park! I have to admit that I haven't been there yet this year, which is a shame, but your post has inspired me to go and pay the rose garden a visit soon. I remember from previous visits that they really do have some lovely varieties growing there.
    My favorite rose from your post is 'Mother of Pearl', I just find the subtle color of this rose irresistible. Looks like we are having the same rose taste ;-)!
    I wonder, are you growing any roses in your own garden?
    Wishing you a nice rest of the week!
    Christina

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    1. Hi Christina: Yes, it's a beautiful destination! You're so fortunate to live near Balboa Park--wow, I had no idea there were so many things to do there! Yes, 'Mother of Pearl' made me swoon. To answer your question, yes, I do have two varieties of roses growing here. One is a hybrid created by my great-grandfather that has the best scent I've ever experienced. The other is a variety that was here when we moved in. Both have limited bloom times, but it's nice to have them in the garden. The shade limits their blooming and growth a bit, but I enjoy them. I wouldn't add anymore roses here, but I love to visit rose gardens elsewhere!

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  6. It sounds wonderful to be surrounded by so many roses in a public garden. Your selections are beautiful and not quite so common in nurseries. I grow a few roses, they are quite easy in our mild climate and seem to love our summer heat.

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    1. Yes, it's a lovely rose garden and worth checking out when you visit San Diego. I imagine the roses must do quite well in your climate, Shirley! Some perform well here in the north, but of course their season is more limited. Whenever I have a chance to tour a rose garden, I take it! ;-)

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  7. All those beautiful roses and in March! Bliss.

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    1. I know: It was wonderful! I love to travel to warmer places in February and March!

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    1. Me, too. I don't grow many myself, but I sure do appreciate them!

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  9. I was just in Balboa Park last week and even got a tour by its director, but never made it to the rose garden! Thanks for the post!

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    1. Lucky you! You are welcome. Next time you visit San Diego, you'll have another part of Balboa Park to explore. It's such a grand place with so many options. I must get back, too.

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  10. You had a wonderful day looking at roses. I myself would like the desert garden, since we cannot grow that type of garden here. Roses grow so much better with far less care in CA than they do here (fungus and Japanese Beetles), yet we do have local rose gardens. I think I might have joined your family at the zoo though. I do love the animals too.

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    1. I enjoy zoos, as well. But Balboa Park was really calling me this time. I only scratched the surface of the place. Plus, so much of it is free! Re: the roses -- yes, they are a bit more challenging in our climate, aren't they? We have some amazing ones here in the Midwest, too, but they require a little more TLC and have a more limited growing season than in CA.

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  11. Thank you for the tour! The garden must be ablaze by now. My favorites were Burgundy Iceberg and Brigadoon.

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    1. You are most welcome! Yes, I imagine this is optimal time to visit S. Calif. rose gardens! It was just beginning to bloom out when I was there.

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  12. What a joy to see photos of roses for the first time this year! I was interested to see what 'Betty Boop' actually looked like, having read about it but never seen photos. It looks like a fantastic place to visit and I am glad you had a good trip!

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    1. Yes, 'Betty Boop' was fun. Actually, all of them are fabulous in their own way. I find the names as much fun as the roses, themselves. ;-) It was a great trip, combined with sightseeing and family gatherings.

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  13. I like relatively open, simple roses best.

    So Betty Boop gets my vote - the dark glossy foliage and the multi-colored flower are both luscious! :)

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    1. I like 'Betty Boop,' too. The name fits and is creative. I like them all!

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  14. I visited San Diego/Balboa Park in January. The roses were just pruned back, so I appreciate your tour. I loved Balboa Park though--so many interesting museums and great people-watching.

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    1. I would be curious to visit San Diego during the depths of winter to see what would be blooming and growing then. And yes, Balboa Park is amazing. I'd been to San Diego a couple of times in the past, but hadn't spent much time in Balboa Park. Now I realize how much there is to do there!

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  15. I have heard of this lovely spot, but have never visited.....I adore roses, so this will be a must if we visit San Diego. We were up in Ventura County on our visit. Family things left us no time to visit gardens although the trees, shrubs and roadsides were blooming everywhere.

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    1. I've heard Ventura County is lovely, too. I don't think I've ever been there, although I lived in the L.A. area for one summer and have visited S. CA throughout the years. We spent most of our time with family, too, since we were there for a wedding. We also spent some time with family in Temecula for some wine tastings. I didn't take many pictures, but that was fun, too. :)

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  16. The photo of the pool and desert garden is sooooo tantalizing--on this snowy "spring" day in Laramie!

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    1. I know! It's cool again here, too. We still have a couple of days with potential snow in the forecast--hopefully not too much. It's this time of year when us northerners really need trips to warmer places! ;-)

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  17. I love animals just as much as the next guy, but I would have opted for the park too :)

    I so enjoy rose gardens - the Royal Botanical Garden near us has a fantastic one and my daughter and I love strolling around and doing lots of sniffing. I only have 4 roses in the garden and they were here when we moved in - the tags were still on a couple but the others are a mystery, especially for me as I know so little about roses. But I'm planning on adding a few more, specifically to our front garden - I think I'll have lots of fun choosing which ones!

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    1. It was partly a matter of budgeting and partly a matter of me being a plant nerd. Any time I have a chance to study plants--especially when it's free--I'll take it. ;-) I'll look forward to hearing more about your rose selections!

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  18. I am not big on growing roses, but you have managed to include several of my favorites.

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    1. I love roses, although I have few in my current garden. Too much shade, more than anything else. But I so enjoy visiting rose gardens when I have a chance. The varieties, the scents, the names, the beauty ... all combine to make rose gardens delightful places to visit.

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  19. Back in 2011 we visited San Diego in April. We went to Torey Pines State Park to see the desert in bloom.

    We enjoy San Diego and hope to get back, guess where I want to go :-) Thank you for post. Beautiful!

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    1. Some of our extended family members who were out there for the wedding checked out Torrey Pines, I think. We didn't get around to it, but I'd love to see it! You are welcome! Yes, I definitely recommend spending a day, a week, or more exploring the Balboa Park area. It's amazing!

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  20. I visited the zoo but not the park. After reading this posting, I think I that was a mistake. Next time ... P. x

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    1. Yes, next time! I had been to the zoo before, plus the botanical gardens are free, plus I'm a plant nerd, so... ;-)

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  21. I pulled another rose just a few weeks ago because I couldn't keep it disease free in my climate without using chemicals. :( I do wish I could add a few of these to my garden but I already know how it will end. I was born in San Diego and have fond memories of Balboa. :o)

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    1. I didn't realize you were born in San Diego. Wow, you've lived all over the place! I know what you mean about the challenges of growing roses without chemicals. I'm organic, too, (and sun-challenged in this garden). So, rose gardening doesn't make sense here. I have a few, but for the most part, I admire roses in other gardens. :)

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  22. This makes me eager to go to San Diego some time. 'Walking on Sunshine' and 'Gold Medal' are really aptly named - beautiful! Do they have many roses blooming in December?

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    1. Yes, San Diego is a great destination any time of year. Apparently, the roses don't really start blooming reliably in San Diego until March. I'm sure there are plenty of other things blooming in any given month. And I know there are plenty of botanical joys to experience any time in San Diego--even when they aren't blooming.

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  23. Oh, it's been many years since I've been here. I believe I must have been at least 6 years old when I was there, and by your photos, I can see it is as beautiful as back then. THE ROSES! That one yellow rose you got a close-up of....butter-rich perfection!

    Well now, tell me how the wind is blowing out in WI? Yesterday here in Minneapolis, we had high winds, lots of sun but with just a few flurries! But for the entire week of my spring break, it was perfection. Couldn't ask for better weather considering the time of year, and yes, Clara was a super model. Thank you so much for coming to visit! Anita

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    1. Oh, Anita. We've had the weirdest weather lately! I don't know about the Twin Cities, but Madison has gone back and forth between winter, spring, and summer weather and back again in the span of hours! Today, frankly, felt like fall, with gray skies and temps in the high 30s. We frequently have changeable weather, but this past week has been nuts. Yes, San Diego was great, and the rose garden was fabulous!

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  24. Some lovely roses there and what a wonderful time to visit Beth. I visited, also a very brief visit, the Botanical Gardens here in Edinburgh a couple of weeks back and there was very little to see but still a nice day out though.
    Balboa Park and it's roses looks like a worthy place to visit for those in the vicinity.

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    1. Yes, it's great to get out to a botanical garden--even in a cooler climate. Our gardens here in the Midwest are probably at a similar stage to yours in Scotland. Soon, we'll both have so many things blooming, we'll be overwhelmed! Enjoy the transitions, Angie!

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  25. Glad you had a chance to enjoy the roses. I like the rose-covered trellis. Would be a lovely spot to hang out.

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    1. Yes, it's a beautiful place. The trellis was beautiful, but I didn't notice a sign describing what type of rose was growing over the top.

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  26. Wow! Such amazing roses. I really must find a garden that's well known for roses and spend a day there. Thank you for sharing your amazing finds.

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    1. Hi Tim: Yes, rose therapy is a wonderful thing, isn't it? You are welcome. Thank you!

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  27. So many beautiful blooms so EARLY!
    I was going to say which one I liked best, but then decided I love them all...
    Thanks for brightening my day :)

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    1. Yes, apparently March and April are peak rose blooming time in San Diego. Here in Wisconsin, June seems to be the peak. ;-) I like them all, too. You are welcome. Thank you!

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  28. The beautiful garden with magnificent roses. I can imagine what the smell after it spreads. Thank you for showing and greet.

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    1. Hi Giga: Yes, some were fragrant, but I didn't make notes of the scents because I had limited time there. Roses are so special!

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  29. Some beautiful roses there, I can see why they needed to build such a robust "roof" to that seating area, the weight of the roses must be considerable. Was it very fragrant?

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    1. That's a good point about the weight on the roof. I hadn't really thought about it, but yes that would be true. Some of the roses were fragrant, but I didn't make notes because I had limited time (and hands). ;)

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  30. Replies
    1. You are welcome! Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  31. You got some lovely photos -- I think my favorite, being partial to pink roses, is the Mother of Pearl.

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    1. Hi Heather: Thanks! Yes, that's a beauty. I have a slight preference for the gentle pink and peachy ones, myself. But I enjoy them all. :)

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