A rose parade

Descanso Gardens shows off hundreds of species of popular flower.

May 06, 2010|By Nicole Charky

Instead of grabbing a bundle of flowers for Mom at the supermarket, Descanso Gardens has more than 3,000 rose species to show her on Mother’s Day.

Descanso’s Justin Huff will lead guests through the gardens’ rosarium from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. There are five acres of lush, bright roses there.

There are 20 themed gardens in the Descanso rosarium, which opened in 1994. These include old European roses, roses from China and hybrid, modern roses. All of the roses are labeled according to different species originating from Scotland, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Australia, Ireland and the U.S., said Brenda Rees, manager of communications at the gardens.


“It’s a place that reminds of nature in our lives,” Rees said. “It’s a place that lets us slow down and take a look around, a place to rejuvenate. People come by themselves or with their family or friends. Taking a walk down the garden can be a very intimate experience, whether it’s with your family member or your friend down the street.”

In addition to the roses, there are many companion plants such as irises, clematis, shrubs and herbs to showcase how roses look with other plants, Rees said.

Near the Tudor Herb Garden are many wild species and the oldest rose species, said Descanso’s curator, Wen Wang.

“We have several very old roses at Descanso that can, based on fossil records, trace their history back millions of years,” Wang said. “These are the wild-species roses. At Descanso, we have Asian species, North American species and European species roses. Some examples of each that are here at Descanso are: Asian: Rosa brunonii and Rosa banksae lutea; North America: Rosa California and Rosa carolina; Europe: Rosa glauca.”

Roses in the garden are incorporated in the All-American Rose Selections, a national contest. The contest has a horticultural testing program that determines which roses are easy to grow and require minimal care by gardeners.

General maintenance for the garden includes pruning plants, companion planting, mulching and composting, Huff said.

Most people take interest in the American blooms, he said.

“More people are interested in the newer roses, roses that grow easier in this climate,” he said. “They’re easier to find around here, and they’re bigger. They bloom more than once. The old roses only bloom once.”

“I will be showing interesting and unique roses and various companion plants that are blooming along with the roses right now,” he said.

Huff expects 40 to 50 people to join him on the walk.

“A lot of people come for Mother’s Day,” Huff said. “The weather is supposed to be beautiful; it’s better than giving your mother flowers. You can show her hundreds and hundreds of types of flowers.”

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