What a day! I toured three private gardens in the historic Rose Garden Neighborhood with a long-time friend along for the journey. We picked up our tour map in the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, run entirely by volunteers. From there we walked the route to each home.
The first garden, and the most unusual was a Xeriscape, a New Mexico arroyo-styled theme garden. There was so much to take in. The center of the garden houses a yoga room, surrounded by native plantings, dry river beds, a vertical vegetable garden and walkways. The home owner keeps bees on the property in a hive resembling a tall bird house. The hive sits behind trellised berry vines, and receives a regular visitor: a neighborhood blue jay. The bees “clean house” each day, tossing out the dead bees and the jay stops by in the morning to eat them.
As an organizer, I was intrigued by the efficient use of space throughout the property. Baskets, crates, wire shelves and hooks lined the entire back side of the garage. The narrow space served as storage, with a beautiful Jade and Fuchsia intermingled with the tools.
The mid-day sun wasn’t optimum for good photos. That said, the collage below captures the flavor of this incredible garden.
Next on the tour was a spacious 1923 home with a California Woodland garden. The first thing you see is an 80-year-old Redwood tree with an equally magnificent Spruce dominating the side garden. The paths open up to a wide expanse of lawn, with “woodland plants such as ferns, lichens wildflowers and grasses” nearby.
A few highlights below:
The House of 53 Roses was the final home on the tour. While I appreciate roses, they don’t grab my attention the way other flowers do. The show-stopper for me was the charming cat in residence, a mellow fellow named Curtis. He let me scratch his chin as he rested in the cool grass and seemed indifferent to me and my camera. Look at that face!
We capped our day with garden salads and the comfortable conversation of old friends on the outdoor patio at Aqui in Willow Glen. Garden nirvana indeed.
Proceeds from today’s tour benefit San Jose Parks Foundation, a membership-based, non-profit organization that:
- Empowers neighborhood and community groups;
- Helps to recruit, train and retain park and trail volunteers;
- Works in partnership with the City and others to maximize access and use of San Jose’s parks for families and youth; and
- Advocates for our parks and trails on behalf of the community.