Inez Parker Memorial Rose Garden
The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden in Balboa Park contains a stunning display of over 1,600 roses in varying colors. The vision for the garden began with the San Diego Rose Society in 1969. The Parker Foundation agreed to provide funding for the project, and by 1973, the garden was complete. A ceremony held in 1975 officially dedicated the rose garden in honor of the philanthropist Inez Grant Parker. Within the three-acre garden, there are over 130 varieties of roses in bloom from March to December. The peak blooming period is typically April through May. Each type of rose has been carefully selected for its color, texture, and fragrance. New varieties of roses are added to the garden each year in order to showcase the different kinds of roses available in the commercial market. A team of forty-five volunteers, known as the Balboa Park Rose Garden Corps, works together to keep the historic garden looking its best.
Crimson roses on view at the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden
Yellow roses on view at the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden
Decorative water fountain in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden
Backstory and Context
The Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden is commonly called the Balboa Park Rose Garden. In the early 1970s, it was established through a gift from the Parker Foundation. As such, it was named for Inez Grant Parker, an equestrian and philanthropist. As the Kansas-born daughter of a prominent horse and mule dealer, Inez was a skilled equestrian. In addition to riding horses, she also learned to drive spirited teams of horses. Apart from her interest in horses, Inez gravitated towards the arts, and she later helped to found art museums and community organizations in San Diego and in Kansas City.
The original vision for the Balboa Park Rose Garden first began with the San Diego Rose Society in 1969. Although two other rose gardens had previously existed in San Diego, by the 1960s they no longer included many of their original plantings. Consequently, long-time rosarians Dick Streeper, Jean Kennealy, and Jim Kirk worked together to encourage the city council to select a site for the establishment of a new rose garden within Balboa Park.
In 1973, the Parker Foundation had agreed to provide funding for the project, with the garden created in memory of Inez, who died in 1972. To begin with, garden pathways and raised beds for planting were established, and an irrigation system was installed. Meanwhile, the San Diego Rose Society busied itself with the initial plantings, laying out the garden according to plan. By 1975, the garden was well-established and flourishing. During the American Rose Society's convention held in San Diego that same year, a dedication ceremony was held to honor Inez Grant Parker and to officially name the rose garden in her memory.
Schulte, Richard. A world-class rose garden in full spring bloom., Beautiful Balboa Park!. March 27th 2016. Accessed November 11th 2021. https://beautifulbalboapark.wordpress.com/2016/03/27/a-world-class-rose-garden-in-full-spring-bloom/.
Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, Balboa Park. Accessed November 11th 2021. https://www.balboapark.org/gardens/rose-garden.
Balboa Park Rose Garden, San Diego Rose Society. Accessed November 11th 2021. https://www.sandiegorosesociety.com/balboa-park-rose-garden.