Today’s Event Celebrates Start Of Rose Blooming Season
By COSHANDRA DILLIARD
Many visitors to Tyler's Rose Garden Center are out-of-towners who've heard about it from locals or through word of mouth. Minnesota resident Jana White visited her sister, Nita Davis, in Mesquite when the two decided to check out the roses for the first time.
They are among the 100,000 people from around the world who visit the Rose Garden each year.
"We don't have anything like that in Minnesota," said Ms. White, who marveled over the colorful blooms last week. "That's enough to make you go buy a rose bush."
"I like the variety," Ms. Davis added, noting that her favorite is the enchanted lavender.
There are more than 32,000 individual plants at the garden and about 500 rose varieties at the Rose Garden.
These roses, which range in color, size, shape and fragrance, don't reach their optimal bloom on their own. Around this time of year, the gardens' workers are meticulously manicuring the 14 acres of land off of Rose Park Drive, with nearly half of those acres comprising rose plants.
The garden isn't just for tourists and today, Tyler residents will be on hand to formally celebrate the industry that gave the city its moniker, "Rose Capital."
Commemorated in late April, Rose Sunday is a chance for admirers to reign in the rose season as well as look to upcoming Rose Festival events.
Today's celebration at 1:30 p.m. is sponsored by Tyler Parks and Recreation Department, the Tyler Rose Museum and the Texas Rose Festival Association. Officials expect between 150 and 200 people.
Craig Reiland, Rose Garden horticulture supervisor, said city officials, dignitaries and others will pack the center's veranda.
"It's the beginning of the rose blooming season," Reiland said, "It's an opportunity for us to thank the people who contribute to the garden, who donate their time and efforts. Also, in conjunction with the Rose Festival, they are able to introduce the Rose queen and her court."
While still months away, the Rose Festival will be highlighted at the ceremony. Information about the speakers at the Rose Festival's men's and women's luncheon in the fall will be announced.
"We wanted to give one more reason to come see the garden," said Julie Dawson, the Rose Museum's executive director. "It gives one more exciting element to Rose Sunday."
The ceremony also allows attendees a opportunity to meet 2012 Rose Queen, Haley McGrede Anderson, and her court.
"I am so thrilled to serve as this year's Rose Queen," Miss Anderson said in a statement. "I am looking forward to celebrating the official beginning of the blooming season at the Tyler Rose Garden. I am also excited about the mayor proclaiming it Rose Sunday. I'd like to thank Craig Reiland, the horticulturist for the Rose Gardens, and his team for their hard work to keep our roses beautiful."
A crew of five, including four full-time workers, maintains the grounds on weekdays. Cesar Berrum, a crew leader at the garden center, has worked there for 22 years after working for a rose nursery.
"I like to do his job," he said. "It's the reason I've been here so long. It's different from working in a nursery; it's just maintenance."
Finishing touches before today's celebration included adding pine straws to control moisture, weeding, mowing and spraying the plants with solutions to thwart disease.
"The crew has worked so hard for the public to see," Reiland said. "There's certainly an amount of gratification for us to be able to show off our work."
In addition to the rose garden, Smith County Master Gardeners' also pay careful attention to the IDEA, Heritage, Shade and Sunshine gardens at the site.
"The garden looks spectacular," Mrs. Dawson said. "This is probably one of my favorite times to go out and see the garden because it so beautiful."