By Virginia Boos, President (2018-2020)
Contributing Authors: Bonnie Bell and Rebecca Weersing
Photos: Bonnie Bell and Katherine Ortega
Temecula, California is the home of the Temecula Valley Rose Society. We were formed in 1990 in the Southern California town about 60 miles north of San Diego. We are affiliated with the American Rose Society in the Pacific Southwest District. Projects that can be seen all around town, showcasing roses, are the result of our efforts and the influence of our founder, Karen Ortega. Our group of 80 members is especially privileged to own a rose garden that is legally ours. Rose Haven Heritage Garden is located at 30592 Jedediah Smith Road at the corner of Cabrillo Rd.
We originally had the opportunity to plant roses on a donated plot of weeds owned by a local real estate developer's investors. This venture was aided by wholesale rose growers and our local irrigation supply company. Years later we had the opportunity to purchase the land through the tax lien sale by Riverside County. In 2005 we received a grant from the Metropolitan Water District to develop the entire 3.4 acres of land into the tremendous rose garden that it is today.
In the plan are varied plants and trees, as well as rose beds of all varieties and descriptions. Several streaming beds of one color sweep down the hill where the gazebo is located. It's a sight to behold during the spring and fall bloom.
We offer this precious place as a public garden, only asking for donations. Just walking along the pathways is a treat that visitors enjoy. Stone staircases take them up the hill for a spectacular view from the gazebo.
Through the years, our members have volunteered many hours in maintenance and caring for the garden. The team of Bonnie Bell, Phyllis Bettelheim and Rebecca Weersing have been coordinating the work, constantly vigilant to solve the water, erosion, vandalism and nuisance problems. They, along with many volunteers, have done a fantastic job of keeping the garden weed‑free, pruned, mulched and fertilized.
Volunteers are vital to the existence of our garden. They are the backbone of maintaining it. Their dedication and determination make the garden a wonderful place for our community. Not only do our own society members volunteer their time, several other organizations enjoy the commitment of helping the garden remain a beautiful place to visit.
Our volunteer opportunities have something for everyone, young people through seniors. Community service organizations and special needs volunteers can all find meaningful outdoor activity for which they can feel fulfillment in their accomplishments.
On any given day, one can see a group enjoying the gorgeous setting and working independently or with a group following the direction of one of our Support Team members. Large groups have provided bob‑cat machines to move huge mounds of mulch to all areas of the garden, where people of various ages spread the mulch all around the plants for moisture conservation. Smaller groups will rake leaves, prune roses and other shrubs, paint fences, remove weeds and care for our vegetable garden. Community service hours can be earned by high‑school students.
As rosarians, we are always willing to help all levels of volunteers from beginners to those with experience. New volunteers are so enthusiastic that it is a great pleasure to encourage their learning and involvement in the care of plants. We practice environmentally approved methods of gardening, including water-efficient irrigation, organic fertilizers and pest control. There is an appreciation of flora and fauna
Along with our physical garden volunteers, we must recognize all the people who support the garden in planning events, publicity, fundraising and coordinating with community associations. We appreciate their support in making the Rose Haven Heritage Garden a wonderful asset to our community. We send our thanks to everyone who volunteers.
This is a private garden that is open to the public during daylight hours. We are registered with the American Public Gardens Association. The area is almost never empty because of all the activities that are offered, plus maintenance projects and the on-going plant care. Rose Haven is designated as a National Wildlife Preserve,, providing the four basic habitat elements needed for wildlife to survive: food, water, cover and a place to raise their young.
♦ Each year in April we have the First Bloom Celebration and then September brings the Last Rose of Summer event. Concerts and picnics are sometimes on the agenda. The Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony recently when we joined them and a large group of their members were in attendance. We now have joined Visit Temecula Valley, a visitors' bureau, so we are planning on hosting many tour groups soon. Their publicity will be world‑wide.
This is a big step and we are all anxious and excited to see the results. Our Support Team is on hand to help with questions. This group acts as hosts and hostesses at both our monthly meetings and garden events. They welcome visitors and lead garden tours.
♦ Pruning classes are offered to the public in January. Since it seems that the usual problem for beginners is pruning, with this event we hope to encourage those attending to learn more by joining us at our monthly meetings.
♦ Boy Scouts who are working to earn their Eagle badge approach us with their project ideas, so we work with them to achieve their goals. Benches, several raised planting beds, a bicycle rack and a new garden storage shed are evidence of their skills.
♦ We have a Families in the Garden program for children aged twelve and under, and the garden is a special spot for prom and other life event photo opportunities for our local residents.
♦ There is a Rose Haven committee which looks after the garden, arranging for garden tours or events, identifying maintenance issues, making future plans for improvements and solving any problems they find. We have a Wish List in our newsletter, suggesting donations to fund our projects. Grant money is pursued, and Rose Haven Friends is our local financial support effort, sending out annual letters with a request for a donation.
Plan to visit our garden soon. As the playwright Richard Sheridan has said, "Won't you come into my garden? My roses would like to see you". It's our classroom for teaching rose culture and a source of community beauty, but more importantly, Rose Haven Heritage Garden is the treasure of Temecula. Visit our website TemeculaValleyRoseSociety.org or look for us on Facebook at Temecula- Valley- Rose- Society- 180801795279929.