As people walk casually through the Albuquerque Rose Garden, they see the beauty of the roses in arrays of pinks, dark pinks, deep reds, and pink blush. They feel the peacefulness and they wonder if it would be nice to borrow a book from the library and find a special spot to read. That’s easy to do as the rose garden’s unique location is the Tony Hillerman Library (8205 Apache, NE) and the special spot could be next to the hybrid tea roses nearby.
The Albuquerque Rose Garden is the one of the oldest and most public rose gardens established in New Mexico. The Albuquerque Rose Society, along with other organizations and volunteers, keep the rose garden blooming and prosperous.
The Albuquerque Rose Society was founded in 1948. As the city grew, the society worked with City of Albuquerque to design and install a rose garden at Prospect Park Library (now the Tony Hillerman Library) in 1962. Over the years, the rose society has organized many activities to benefit the garden.
In the springtime, the Albuquerque Rose Society hosts the “First Bloom In Garden Party” in the rose garden, where members and their families gather together in May. There is food and drink for everyone and the chance to see the first blooms of the season. “Albuquerque is a great place to grow beautiful roses for all the public to enjoy. There is plenty of traffic that walks through the rose garden, and there are lots of mothers and toddlers who stop to admire the roses,” says Rebecca Murphy, the webmaster for the rose society and a member of the garden committee.
In March, the Albuquerque Rose Society offers rose pruning demonstrations and plenty of homeowners and other Albuquerque citizens come out to see the pruning process. In May, the society holds a rose show each year.
The society has published many editions of a booklet Growing Roses in Albuquerque that contains information on growing roses in the city’s climate. The booklet includes a list of roses ideal for Albuquerque’s growing conditions.
The Albuquerque Rose Garden renovation project was completed in 1995. The garden renovation committee used All-American-Rose Selections and other roses suggested by experienced rosarians to develop a planting plan for the redesigned garden. About 700 bushes were donated by nurseries from across the United States and another 500 bushes were purchased using proceeds from fundraisers. Roses included are floribundas, hybrid Rugosas, minifloras, hybrid teas, large flower climbers, and old garden roses.
One of the special places at the rose garden is the Peace Memorial Bed. The memorial is in memory of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II and the founding of the United Nations. The 15 roses in the Peace Memorial Bed include five Peace rose varieties. The Fragrance Walk is a special scented path leading to the library doors. Hybrid tea roses are blooming along one side of the sidewalk with benches placed where you can stop to enjoy the scent of the roses.
The garden includes more than 1,200 roses. It was a credit to the society when the director of the All American Rose Selection Public Rose Gardens left a note saying “This is one of the most impressive public rose gardens I have ever seen.”
The Albuquerque Rose Society is still a work in progress. It will continue to move roses from positions that have become too shaded and add new beds to gain the public’s attention. Each variety has an identification sign and there are descriptions of characteristics of each rose. Visiting the Albuquerque Rose Garden is free of charge.
WHEN YOU GO:
There are a number of bed and breakfasts and guesthouses in the Albuquerque area. For lunch, Souper Salad offers a great salad bar and for dinner, Black Angus offers delicious steaks. If you want an early breakfast, the Village Inn’s offers breakfast skillets or a lighter breakfast of a veggie omelet with multi grain pancakes.
On your way to or from Albuquerque, make a stop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to stay at the El Paradero bed and breakfast inn and sample the cuisine. The menu changes daily and the cookbook, El Paradero Cookbook, features Southwest recipes. The inn is a 200-year old farmhouse with 15 guest rooms.
by Vivian Perez