Stop and Smell the Roses at Municipal Rose Garden in San Jose

A year ago, I had the opportunity to go to San Jose Municipal Rose Garden as part of a drawing Meetup group. The only part of the title of the group that I can remember is Doodlepalooza. The group met on a weekday around lunchtime. I only had enough time to start a pencil sketch of the fountain before I had to go to work in the afternoon. I told myself that I would come back one day and finish it by adding color. I finally got an opportunity to come back … a year later.

watercolor pencil sketch of the two-tiered fountain at the Municipal Rose Garden

100 Things to Do in San Jose Before You Die, coverVisiting Rose Garden is #74 in 100 Things to do in San Jose Before You Die by Susannah Greenwood. Rose Garden is located on Naglee and Dana Avenues. The roses are in bloom from April to November.

Fun fact about Rose Garden, it used to be a prune orchard. Prunes were a major industry in Santa Clara County in the early 20th century according to The Last of the Prune Pickers: A Pre-Silicon Valley Story by Tim Stanley.

Every house we lived in on the eastside of San Jose has had roses growing in the front yard. How my Mom managed to keep them alive and not her house plants is a mystery to me.

Choosing Roses

If you need help with your roses or choosing roses for your yard, the San Jose Public Library has plenty of books, e-books, and DVDs on the subject of roses, gardening with roses, and even cooking with roses:

Encyclopedia of RosesAll About RosesBetter Homes and Gardens Rose GardeningPractical Rose GardeningAlan Titchmarsh How to GardenRoses Without ChemicalsEveryday RosesThe Magic of Roses for Cooking and Beauty

DVDs about Roses

Gardening DVDRebecca's Garden DVD

Drawing & Painting Flowers

If you need help drawing or painting roses or using watercolor pencils, here are a few resources.

Essential One-Stroke Painting ReferenceWatercolor in BloomWonderful WatercolorsPainting Flowers in WatercolorSplash 14 Light & Color

Using Watercolor Pencils

Urban Watercolor SketchingQuick & Clever Watercolour Pencils

In our busy and over-scheduled lives, there is no better place to slow down and stop and smell the roses. So, come on by to the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden.

watercolor pencil sketch of climbing Tropical Thunder rose


Absolutely beautiful! Informative info, and the layout is structurally perfect!

Monique, Your sketches are exquisite, and your Garden reading and viewing suggestions are right on! I used to grow and show roses in my Virginia garden, but the San Jose Rose Garden is Indeed an ongoing, free, rise show by itself eveey day! Thanks for sharing.

Great Memories for me as a kid! My Dad was a Horticulturist and worked for the City of San Jose in Parks at that time, growing a lot of the roses that would be planted at the Rose Garden Park. The City owned nursery was located in the same location that the Community Center in Japan Town now sits. We would help my Dad water in the hothouse before we headed out on Sundays for our daily activities. Our family had many gatherings at this park. I would still go for walks with my big Sis here until she moved to LA.

Spent my childhood running around the Rosegarden with my brothers and picnicking with our family. The Rosegarden was an integral part of my childhood. Also had graduation there as well as my son's.

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