March 30, 2016
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.
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.
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' produces semi-double blooms from spring to fall. The glossy, dark green foliage provides an attractive frame for its colorful flowers.
'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' seems aptly named. The peachy-pink flowers have golden centers.
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.
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.
Imagine a bouquet of 'Mother of Pearl.' This grandiflora fits that sweet spot of pink with peachy overtones that makes my heart jump.
'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," 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.
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.
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.
And 'Gold Medal' is equally lovely as a gentle bud.
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.