History of the Santa Barbara Rose Garden

The History of the Santa Barbara Rose Garden at the Mission Historical Park: Courtesy of Wikipedia.

A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden:

The A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden is an accredited show garden of the All-America Rose Selections (AARS). The garden was initiated in 1955 with a donation of 500 pedigree rose bushes. In 1959, the non-profit Santa Barbara Rose Society was established. By 1961 the condition of the Santa Barbara rose garden had deteriorated such that the Rose Society requested to sponsor it. In the following years, new bushes were established. In 1971, the Little Garden Club installed a fragrance garden for the blind. By the late 1970s, California Proposition 13 had substantially reduced funding for the Parks Department and eliminated the full-time rose gardener’s position. The remaining volunteers were unable to adequately maintain the garden and it deteriorated. In 1980, there had been considerations to replace the rose beds with tennis courts. However, in 1982 a committee was formed to save the rose garden. By 1984, the Virginia Firth Wade Endowment Fund donated $35,000 of the $51,000 needed to restore the garden on the condition that it be renamed; the A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden.

Today the Santa Barbara Rose Garden holds over 1,500 plants sits and serves as one of over 130 recognized competitive demonstration rose gardens in the US, hosting a variety of roses including a number of All-America Rose Selections (AARS) winners. An annual $5,000 grant from the Virginia Firth Wade Endowment Fund assists with the garden’s maintenance, which includes a part-time gardener, watering, grooming, and regular fertilization.

The garden at the Mission Historical Park is often utilized for wedding ceremonies in two locations, the open grassy section along its western side (which accommodates up to 200 people), and in a smaller area on the northern end of the garden along Plaza del Rubio Street (which accommodates up to 50 people).

Rose Collections:

History of the Santa Barbara Rose Garden at the Mission Historical Park: A number of the Rose cultivar which has been cultivated within the garden (and listed by the All American Rose Selection Committee – AARS) include, but are not limited to, Chicago Peace (1962), China Doll (AARS 1946), Color Magic, Double Delight, Duet (AARS 1961)Iceberg, Just Joey, Over The Moon, Peace, Perfume Delight, Rainbow Sorbet, Scentimental, Sunshine Daydream (an AARS 2012 winner), Strike It Rich, Tahitian Sunset, Walking on Sunshine (an AARS 2011 winner), and Betty Boop (AARS 1999). Some of the rose cultivars named after people within the garden include; Barbra Streisand (AARS 2000), Henry Fonda (AARS 1995)Julia Child (2004), and Marilyn Monroe (AARS 2003).

Additionally, the collection hosts beds of ancient varieties, such as GallicasAlbas, and Damasks in various states of health. Other roses maintained within the garden include Old Garden RosesHybrid Perpetuals, which were initially cultivated during the 1800s, and Chinas (e.g. Mutabulis and Old Blush from 1752).

The Santa Barbara Rose Garden has influenced our projects:

An Andalusian Estate we designed and built on Riven Rock Road in Montecito and an Adobe Estate on Hot Springs Road in Montecito.

Source: Wikipedia Photos: John Maienza