The Albuquerque Rose Garden renovation project, completed in 1995, was the result of a four-year collaboration among the City of Albuquerque, the library director and branch manager, landscape architect William Perkins , and the Albuquerque Rose Society.
The garden is located on the grounds of the Tony Hillerman Library in Albuquerque, New Mexico (see map below) near Wyoming and Menaul at 8205 Apache, NE. With money provided by the City and hundreds of donations of cash and roses from individuals and organizations from all over the United States, the renovation was completed three years before the 1998 American Rose Society National Convention in Albuquerque and was highlighted at that Convention. It was gratifying to have the director of AARS Public Rose Gardens attend and leave his card with a note on the back that said “This is one of the most impressive public rose gardens I have ever seen.”
On the north side of the library, a large shade structure with built-in tables and benches serves as a gathering place for many public events, including the Albuquerque Rose Society’s own First Blooms in the Garden Party each May. Climbing roses on steel frames provide a screen between the shade structure and the adjacent street. Raised planters on the south and west sides of the shade structure set Miniature and Polyantha roses at a good viewing height.
From the east side of the shade structure, a curved walkway leads visitors through the Hybrid Tea, Grandiflora and Shrub (David Austin) rose beds and towards the east rose gardens. Along this walkway, a 10- foot wide pergola showcases climbing roses. The adjacent beds radiate out from the east library courtyard towards the pergola and are surrounded by 5-foot wide paths. At the south end of this curved path are four foot-square box planters for specimen roses. In the shade along the wall of the library are beds for shade-tolerant Hybrid Musk roses and for mauve-colored roses that require protection from extreme afternoon heat.
In the east garden, free form beds with winding paths, benches, arches and trees provide a more contemplative atmosphere filled with color, fragrance, and shade. These beds include Floribundas, Shrubs and Old Garden Roses and showcase the color, versatility, vigor and ease of care that roses can bring into the landscape of homes and public facilities.
The east entrance to the library was envisioned as the “Fragrance Walk” to create an enticing scented path leading to the library doors. Especially fragrant Hybrid Tea roses are planted along one side of the sidewalk and benches are provided so that visitors can stop and enjoy the heady rose perfume.
Along the south side of the Library building, where the summer heat is the most intense, are large beds of Hybrid Rugosas and Species roses. These beds are a clear demonstration that there are low maintenance roses for even the most difficult planting sites.
Floribunda, Polyantha, Shrub roses, and trees provide a border between the west parking lot and the street. Three Rosa Banksiae Luteas, covering an area about 40 feet long, 10 feet wide and 8 feet high effectively screen the parking lot from the street and are the perfect demonstration of the vigor and use for that rose.
ROSES IN THE GARDEN
The Albuquerque Rose Society’s Garden Renovation Committee used the mission statements for both the All-America Rose Selections and the Albuquerque Rose Society to develop the planting plan for the redesigned garden. The garden committee then selected and ordered the roses and supervised planting the rose bushes. About 700 bushes were donated by nurseries from across the United States and another 500 bushes were purchased with City funds, donations, and proceeds from fund raisers. Roses were selected as follows:
All-America Rose Selections: When selections were made each year, six plants of each variety selected were planted and maintained in the garden for five years. After five years, each of these varieties was reduced to three plants and were maintained in the garden indefinitely as long as the ARS rating remained at 7.5 or higher. Miniatures chosen as All-America Selections as well as Award of Excellence selections were included their first year and continue in the garden depending upon their performance.
All other roses were selected by experienced rosarians for their beauty, proven quality, ratings and ability to grow well in Albuquerque. Roses included are: Floribundas, Grandifloras, Hybrid Musks, Hybrid Rugosas, Hybrid Teas, Large-Flowered Climbers, Miniatures, Mini-Floras, Polyanthas, Old Garden Roses, Shrubs (including David Austins and Griffith Bucks), Ramblers and Species.
* One of the Hybrid Tea beds is the Peace Memorial Bed, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II and the founding of the United Nations. There are 15 roses of five Peace rose varieties in this bed.
HISTORY OF THE ROSE GARDEN
The Albuquerque Rose Society was founded in 1948. Our mission is to “promote and celebrate our national flower and to provide educational opportunities to increase the public’s knowledge of and appreciation of the rose.” To help accomplish that goal, the first Albuquerque Rose Garden was planted in 1954 by the original members. As Albuquerque grew, a larger site became available at a local library near Wyoming and Menaul. Working with the City of Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Rose Society designed and installed a rose garden at the Tony Hillerman Library in 1962 (then called The Wyoming Library). From the beginning, the Rose Garden has been a cooperative venture among the City, the Library and the Rose Society.
This public garden served the Albuquerque Rose Society and the community well for about 30 years. As the library patronage grew so did the building size and the parking requirements. By 1990 the site needed to be redesigned. Rather than move the garden to another location we requested that the rose garden be remodeled. The design process began with discussions with the City Councilor for the district in which the garden resides, emphasizing the almost 50-year history of the garden, its importance to the community, the thousands of volunteer hours contributed to maintaining the garden by the Society, and the need for renovation.
We were subsequently contacted by the Director of the Albuquerque Library System and invited to discuss our ideas about renovating the grounds. Our garden committee, which normally met infrequently, went into full project mode. We met almost weekly to establish the requirements we felt were necessary for the successful renovation of the garden. The City hired professional landscape architects, Campbell Okuma Perkins Associates, to design a garden that would meet the requirements of both the library and the Rose Society.
The City reviewed our recommendations and included our design features in the final drawings to renovate the grounds. The new design accommodates about 1,200 rose bushes and includes some wonderful new amenities designed by William Perkins, including a shade structure, a pergola, arches, picnic tables and benches, concrete edging for planting beds, raised beds for Miniatures and Polyanthas, and a comprehensive new watering system. Xeric plantings and daylily beds accent the design and several varieties of trees, including the ‘Bradford’ pear, Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) and Vitex, shade the benches and parking lots. The Albuquerque Rose Society consulted with Western Organics and developed a soil mix specifically for growing roses in our climate. This custom soil replaced the native soils in the new rose beds.
The Albuquerque Rose Garden will always be a work in progress. We continue to replace less hardy roses with new varieties, move roses from positions that have become too shaded and add new beds to further enhance the public’s experience. The garden is currently planted with about 1,200 roses comprising 30 types. Each variety has an identification sign and throughout the garden there are educational signs that describe characteristics of each type of rose. The garden now showcases about 80 AARS winners which are marked by special AARS signs.
Throughout the history of the public rose garden members of the Albuquerque Rose Society have provided the time and labor necessary to plant, prune, deadhead, feed, and weed the garden. (See our 2015 Garden Committee in the photo above.) Library personnel are very supportive and assist us with maintenance and improvements as the need arises including daily debris cleanup. Our Garden Committee, under the leadership of Albuquerque Rose Society Garden Committee Chair Charlene Bacchus, organizes workdays, selects new roses, and oversees the development of new planting beds. As part of our mission of education, members provide extensive pruning demonstrations every spring. We maintain a list of roses that grow well in Albuquerque and make it available to garden visitors. We promote the rose in a variety of activities throughout the year including two rose shows and numerous presentations to other organizations. All funds to support the garden are raised by the society.
Interested in joining us as we maintain the Rose Garden? We meet on Tuesday evenings throughout the summer from 6:30 to sunset to deadhead, feed and weed the more than 1,200 roses. Help is greatly appreciated! You don’t have to be a member of the Society to participate. Bring a good sharp pair of pruning shears and heavy gloves. Look for members in the light green tee shirts. If you don’t have any experience, don’t worry–we’ll show you what to do.
Each March, members of the Albuquerque Rose Society and its Garden Committee offer free pruning demonstrations at the Albuquerque Rose Garden located at the Tony Hillerman Library, 8205 Apache Ave. NE 87110. A list of time and dates will be listed on this website in February.