Roses in the Desert

April 20, 2014
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Roses in the desert at Mesa Community College Rose Garden, Arizona

Mesa Community College Rose Garden

You may not expect to find a rose garden in the middle of a desert, but at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona, you can find nearly 9,000 rose bushes. The rose garden started in 1996 as a collaborative effort between Mesa Community College and Mesa-East Valley Rose Society.

Mesa Community College Rose Garden flower beds
There are 51 free-form rose beds in the five acre garden. The various varieties are labelled with signs in the ground. At 11 stations throughout the garden, a phone number and stop numbers are posted. If you call the telephone number and enter the stop number, you will hear information about the roses in that part of the garden. Information includes basics about rose categories, specific varieties in the garden and history of the garden

Let Freedom Ring and Veterans' Honor hybrid tea roses.

Let Freedom Ring and Veterans’ Honor hybrid tea roses. Hybrid roses are the most common. They are long-stemmed.

Field of Dreams and Chihuly floribunda rose

Field of Dreams and Chihuly floribunda roses. Floribunda roses grow in clusters and bloom profusely.

Lasting Peace and Wild Blue Yonder grandiflora roses

Lasting Peace and Wild Blue Yonder grandiflora roses. Grandiflora roses, a cross between hydrid tea and floribunda, are long-stemmed with medium-large flowers.

The yellowy-orange Strike it Rich rose, a grandiflora rose

Strike it Rich rose, a grandiflora rose

White and red roses in the Veterans' Garden at Mesa Community College Rose Garden

The Veterans Rose Garden plantings began in 2003 and completed in 2005. The garden honours “Past, Present, and Future” members of the American military.

Test bed for the All-American Rose Selections program

Test bed for the All-American Rose Selections program

A section of the garden is an official test area for the All American Rose Selections program. It is one of 26 test gardens nationwide. Miniatures are grown and evaluated monthly for how well they do in the climate. After two years, the plants are removed and destroyed. Eventually the best ones will be produced to go to market.

Orange and rose-coloured roses in one of the peace beds at Mesa Community College

One of the peace beds in Phase 4 of the Mesa Community College Rose Garden

Phase four of the garden includes beds symbolizing “Love, Friendship, Beauty and Peace” via the shapes of the beds. Peace beds are circular with the roses planted in a peace sign formation. Beauty is represented by a flower-shaped bed with a round centre and five petals. Love is a heart-shaped bed. Friendship is illustrated by two elongated beds representing arms enfolding each other.

Red Bob Hope rose

Bob Hope rose. Many roses are named for celebrities

Buttery yellow Julia Child rose

Julia Child rose. Julia Child said the colour reminded her of butter.

Mesa Community College is located at 1833 W. Southern Avenue in Mesa, Arizona. The rose garden is situated on the northern end of the campus along Southern Avenue. The garden is open to the public free of charge every day. According to the Rose Garden web site, climate is most beautiful for visiting in April, May, June, October, November and December.

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Roses in the desert at Mesa Community College Rose Garden in Mesa, Arizona #Arizona #roses #Mesa #garden

Note: This post is linked to Travel Mondays


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  • Reply
    Irene S. Levine
    April 21, 2014 at 9:08 am

    What an incredible bouquet of photos! Is the season for the blossoms a short one? You seemed to catch the timing just right.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 21, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Some varieties are ever-blooming, but not all. The Rose Garden website says that the roses are most beautiful in the months of April, May, and June, and again in October, November, and December. I was there in early April. I plan to visit again in November or December and see how it is different at that time.

  • Reply
    santafetraveler
    April 21, 2014 at 9:32 am

    It’s amazing what people can grow in the desert!

  • Reply
    Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    April 21, 2014 at 9:46 am

    I love that Wild Blue Yonder one! This is news to me about this rose garden in the desert. I will visit it next time I’m in town. Here’s the scoop on a rose garden in another town I love to visit–Portland, Oregon: http://travelswithcarole.blogspot.com/search/label/rose%20gardens

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 22, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      Thanks Carole. I will remember this for when I make it to Portland.

  • Reply
    William Rusho
    April 21, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    I wish my garden could look like that, we might get snow later in the week.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 22, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      I am on my way home to Manitoba. I expect to find snow still in parts of my backyard. Definitely no roses blooming there.

  • Reply
    flattiresandslowboats.com
    April 21, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Roses and gardens of plants and flowers are a big part of the culture in New Zealand…everyones a gardener! Everyone loves a rose.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 22, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      I didn’t know roses and gardens were such a big part of New Zealand culture. Another reason to visit.

  • Reply
    Meredith Wouters
    April 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    This is beautiful, thank you for the tour. It’s funny to me that roses can flourish in such diverse climates as Arizona and Oregon!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 22, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      It seems that people love roses everywhere.

  • Reply
    Molly S
    April 21, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Amazing that such beautiful flowers can grow in the desert – they’re hardier than we think they are! Beautiful photos 🙂

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 22, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      I think some are hardier than others and breeders keep working on strong strains. These gardens are watered, which solves one of the issues with the desert.

  • Reply
    Susan Cooper
    April 21, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    My favorite rose is the Strike It Rich Grandiflora. I absolutely love your image of it. It has been a very long time, but I have actually been to that rose garden and it’s spectacular in the spring. I am a bit jealous, because I would love to see again in full bloom.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 22, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      The different colours are amazing. I hope to see the garden again too, and see what it is like at other times of the year.

  • Reply
    Nancie
    April 21, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Beautiful. Love all the different colors. I walk by rose bushes everyday on the way to work, and they are just beginning to bloom now. Great way to start the day!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 22, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      I was amazed at how many different and unusual colours were in the garden. Walking by the roses certainly would be a great way to start the day.

  • Reply
    Anita Oliver
    April 21, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Gives new meaning to the old adage, “Stop and smell the roses”! What a beautiful place and great photos!

  • Reply
    JeriWB
    April 22, 2014 at 12:25 am

    The Strike it Rich Rose if my favorite. I love that color combination and plant tulips in the same hues as well.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 22, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Strike it Rich is a striking colour. The garden had so many hues – everyone should be able to find a favourite.

  • Reply
    Lenie
    April 22, 2014 at 2:57 am

    I love roses, especially the fragrant ones. All the pictures are gorgeous but I really like the very last one. It looks like they have two tiers of roses with the front ones being shorter than the back. I’m an armchair traveler, I let other people do the traveling, take the pictures and do the write-up, then I sit back and enjoy. Thanks so much.
    Lenie

  • Reply
    Catarina
    April 22, 2014 at 3:35 am

    Roses are beautiful and a delight for all our senses. Your photos capture their allure very well, Donna.

  • Reply
    frugalfirstclasstravel.com
    April 22, 2014 at 4:31 am

    I adore roses. Thanks for highlighting such spectacular varieties in this garden.

  • Reply
    Michelle Emiaha
    April 22, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Awwww, I wish I can teleport this garden to my compound. Its beautiful. Roses are irresistible. No wonder its expensive down here.

  • Reply
    the Frozen Canuck
    April 22, 2014 at 7:09 am

    I like the Wild blue yonder – I had planted a Apothecary’s Rose bush, it had delicate pinkish flowers (I moved away so I never packed it 🙂

  • Reply
    Paul Graham
    April 22, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Great pictures of Roses in the desert, Donna and interesting info on Mesa. I often associate roses with vulnerability to wind. Are these varieties specially resistant or is it not as windy as I assume ?

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 22, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      The area around Phoenix has windy periods, but it isn’t windy all the time. I visited the garden in April and April can be breezy, but then again so is April in my Manitoba home. The area may get a strong windstorm or two or three throughout the year. I don’t know how that affects the gardens. The gardens are more sheltered than some wide open spaces.

  • Reply
    Ursula Maxwell-Lewis
    April 23, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    My daughter, who lives in Alberta, was in PHX last week on business. She threated to stay there! Your rose covereage is beautiful. A yellow rose is our Beta Sigma Phi sorority symbol.

  • Reply
    Doreen Pendgracs
    April 23, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Donna: Your photos give me hope that spring will eventually bring flowers back to he Prairies. Lovely pics. Thx for sharing.

  • Reply
    Crystal
    April 24, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Donna, I went to Mesa Community College for a semester. I live in Tempe, Arizona now. Are you from AZ? I love the pictures you took. I need to drive down and take a look again. I love Julia Child and that a rose is named after her! =)

    Sincerely, Crystal Ross

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      April 25, 2014 at 10:01 am

      I am from Manitoba, Canada but have been visiting Arizona on a yearly basis for the last nine years. I spent the last two winters in Mesa.

  • Reply
    Jay
    April 24, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Very nice pictures. I never knew there were so many different varieties of roses.. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    Michele Harvey
    April 25, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    What beautiful roses and photos of the garden. You are right. I would not expect to see a garden like this in the desert. I think my favorite rose garden is the rose test garden in Portland, Oregon. Thank you for your post.

  • Reply
    Crystal
    April 25, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    That’s awesome! I have visited Canada before . I am from Michigan. 😉

  • Reply
    Welli
    April 26, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I already feel peace and love just from going through the post. Beautiful garden.

  • Reply
    Anna Khan
    April 27, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I was surprised to know that such beautiful flowers can grow in desert. Growing 9000 rose bushes at Mesa Community College must have taken a lot of time and effort but it gives pleasure to many now.
    I am living in Saudi Arabia but still I have not seen roses , but come across many other flowers.
    But if I talk about Kashmir then specifically talking about Rawalakot almost every home have roses. Every where you can see variety of rose.

    It was really nice to see these pictures and it took me back to my childhood when I was living in Rawalakot and was enjoying fragrance of roses , I use to pluck many everyday but now I feel sad and miss them.

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