Volunteers donate time at garden by Santa Barbara Mission
More than 100 volunteers participated in the annual Rose Pruning Day on Saturday after the event was postponed due to the storms that hit Santa Barbara County.
The event began at 9 a.m. Saturday at the A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden in front of the Santa Barbara Mission.
“It was a smashing success, considering all factors and the postponement due to weather. We had over 100 volunteers. The majority of work is done, and the park is looking rather clean,” Max Thomas, maintenance crew leader for the Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department, told the News-Press.
“Volunteers are vital to maintaining over 1,500 rose bushes,” said Ramiro Arroyo, parks supervisor. “Being able to do all this work in one day means we’re ready to mulch and feed the roses as soon as new growth starts in February. This promotes better growth, and we end up with an even better-looking garden than the year before.”
Noted Mr. Thomas, “In the winter, most of the roses need to be cut back to propagate new growth and to help the plant develop. We had representatives from the Rose Society and Santa Barbara County Master Gardeners who helped volunteers with shears and gave instructions on pruning. Then volunteers would pick a bush and prune away. The parks department led the clean up of pruning.”
The Rose Pruning Day has been a January tradition for almost 40 years. Volunteers spent the morning at the A. C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden, which is part of the Mission Historical Park, and pruned the approximately 1-acre garden in preparation for spring growth. The annual event was canceled in both 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic and returned in 2022 with a record-breaking turnout of more than 100 volunteers.
“It was a communal atmosphere, with people out looking to learn, help, and have a good time. I would like to give a big shout out to the Parks Department, the Rose Society and the Santa Barbara County Master Gardeners,” Mr. Thomas told the News-Press Saturday as the pruning progressed. “Everyone is out here helping; it’s a good atmosphere. Everyone is pretty happy. and the weather is beautiful. It is just a little wet.
“It is a really special time. It’s a one of a kind park feature; the beautiful rose garden is a unique thing. It is open to everyone, and it’s right across from the historic mission,” Mr. Thomas said. “It is a real bonding place for the community, a beautiful sensory garden. It’s a beautiful thing everyone gets to share and an opportunity to learn and meet people
“If you are interested in helping out, reach out to the parks department. We have opportunities to volunteer year-round. If you missed this year’s rose pruning, this happens every year.”