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Rose Garden in the San Francisco Bay Area


Of the 1,500 plants and approximately 145 varieties, the highlight is a semicircle of 40 Just Joey tree plants pruned at the perfect height for viewing the rich copper-pink blooms.

Old garden roses climb a trellis fence flanking the main path, This is an All-American Rose Selection garden at the San Francisco Rose Garden has many publications at how to grow roses in the fog. San Francisco Rose Society

Getting there.
The Rose Garden borders a paved path leading from the corner of Fulton Street and Park Presidio Drive on the northern edge of Golden Gate Park John F. Kennedy Drive. Information: Friends of Recreation and Parks, (415)750-5105.

Palo Alto, Elizabeth F. Gamble Center

Set in the elegant grounds of the old Gamble Mansion and just 50 feet square, this is the most intimate rose garden on the tour. A bed of vigorous white iceberg florinda shrubs surrounds a circular central lawn. The outer border is defined by an extensive collection of antique roses trained against a green trellis fence. Be sure to look at the United States' first recognized contribution to rose culture, the Noisette Champney's Pink Cluster, which dates from 1811.

Getting there. The Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden Center is at 1431 Waverly St., Palo Alto, at the corner of Embarcadero Road, 1.5 miles west of Highway 101. Information: (650)329-1356.

Santa Clara, Santa Clara University Rose Gardens

Peer through the wrougth iron gates in the tile-topped stucco wall surrounding the Mission Santa Clara de Assisi cementary site, and you will see the formal rose garden set around a cantral wooden cross. On the south side of the church, tree roses line footpaths through the old wisteria arbor and lawns leading to Nobili Hall.

A climber planted in the 1920s towers over a stout wooden retaining frame in front of the glistening silver domes of Ricard Observatory. In coming years, look for hundreds of recently planted climbing roses from the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden to add color to the railings fronting El Camino Real and The Alameda.

Getting there. The campus rose gardens are grouped around the Mission Church at the end of Palm Drive at 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara. Information: (408) 554-4000.

San Jose, San Jose Municipal Rose Garden

Designed by John McLaren, father of Golden Gate Park, the Municipal Rose Garden has been the pride of this San Jose neighborhood since 1931. Relax on benches around the formal central pool and fountain to contemplate 4,500 bushes representing hundreds of varieties filling almost five acres of lawn in this garden accredited by All-America Rose Selections. Don't miss the 60-foot-long arbor with light pink Cecile Brunner floribunda blossom clusters at the Dana Avenue entrance gate.

Getting there. San Jose Municipal Rose Garden is west of The Alameda, on Naglee Avenue between Garden Drive and Dana Avenue. Information: San Jose Parks Department, (408) 277-4661.

San Jose, Heritage Rose Garden

Opened in 1995, the five-acre Heritage Rose Garden offers one of the world's most complete rose collections, from antique roses rescued from abandoned homesites to the latest modern and miniature varieties. The shallow, bowl-shaped depression reveals a kaleidoscope of colors as you can see every plant from any point in the garden. It is divided into six sections, each containing a basic class of roses. If you are looking for a specific variety, check the Web site for the bed location before you go.

Getting there. The Heritage Rose Garden at West Taylor and Spring streets in San Jose. It is part of the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens project. Information: (408) 298-7657.

Fremont, Niles Rose Garden

One of Fremont's hidden treasures, the Niles Rose Garden is a city-owned park next to the old Vallejo Adobe. Volunteers of the Friends of Heirloom Flowers tend this eclectic collection of more than 500 donated bushes, including China, floribunda, grandiflora, hybrid tea, miniature and antique roses. A 5-foot-high hedge bursting with vivid scarlet blooms of Red Simplicity edges the entry driveway. Tall palms, mature oaks and wisteria vines convey the feeling of an old-fashioned garden.

Getting there. The garden is next to the Mission Adobe Nursery on Niles Boulevard at Nursery Boulevard, just over the railroad tracks from Highway 238 in the Niles district of Fremont. Information: Friends of Heirloom Flowers, (510) 656-7702. ?

Oakland, Morcom Amphitheater of Roses

Created as a Works Progress Administration project in the 1930s, the Oakland Municipal Rose Garden features a large Italian-style pavilion, pool and terraces overflowing with 5,000 plants and 300 varieties. A 10-tier waterfall on the tree-shaded western hillside is flanked on each side with delicate pink Pride of Oakland polyantha shrubs. Four varieties of Peace fill the center bed of the rear terrace, where old garden roses rescued from around California clamber up rock retaining walls.

Getting there. The garden is at 700 Jean St., Oakland. Take the Grand Avenue exit from Interstate 580 one-half mile east to Jean Street. Information: Oakland Park Services, (510) 238-3187.

Garden of Old Roses, University of California-Berkeley Botanical Garden

The Garden of Old Roses is the highlight of the Floriculture Collection of the UC-Berkeley Botanical Garden. It features several hundred 19th-century and earlier specimens, including Alba, Bourbon, Centifolia, Damask, Gallica, Moss and Portland cultivars. Be prepared for a warm, uphill walk through the dry Mediterranean section of the garden. Then cool yourself in the shade of the colorful climber-covered pergola as you gaze down onto the canopy of trees filling Strawberry Canyon.

Getting there. The Garden of Old Roses is at 200 Centennial Drive, Strawberry Canyon, one mile from Stadium Rim Way in Berkeley. Information: (510) 642-0849.

Berkeley , Berkeley Municipal Rose Garden

Another project of the WPA, this garden has the bonus of a spectacular view of San Francisco Bay. The garden's steep, eight-tier, ivy-covered, rock-walled amphitheater features a specific color range on each level. Cordonices Creek splashes under a footbridge at the lower level, where white flowers predominate. On the upper entry level, orange, pink and red Joseph's Coat climb vigorously over a semicircular redwood pergola attributed to architect Bernard Maybeck. Stone benches allow visitors to sit in the shade and enjoy the view of 3,000 roses.

Getting there. The Berkeley Municipal Rose Garden is at 1201 Euclid Ave., between Bay View Place and Eunice Street.

Walnut Creek, The Gardens at Heather Farm

This garden is on a gentle five-acre slope overlooking the lake of Heather Farm Park, where the non-profit volunteer organization carries out its mission of conservation and horticulture education. Demonstration areas include a butterfly garden, children's garden, sensory garden and an extensive rose garden. Brick pathways divide a large, round rose bed into eight segments, each planted with popular hybrid tea bushes. A wide outer border features David Austin English Rose shrubs interspersed with climber-covered wooden towers. Terraced floribunda beds on the hillside surround a large slate-roofed gazebo that is popular for weddings.

Getting there. The Gardens at Heather Farm are at 1540 Marchbanks Drive, off Ygnacio Valley Road, east of downtown Walnut Creek. Information: (925) 947-1678.

(This material is condensed from an article by David Laws in the San Jose Mercury News)


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