Proud of East Texas: Rose Garden - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Proud of East Texas: Rose Garden

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) -

The city of Tyler has been associated with roses as far back as the 1930s. Theres no place where they're more abundant and beautiful than the Tyler Rose Garden.

It's said that the rose is our oldest flower, dating back millions of years. But the roses you'll find in the Tyler Rose Garden have been cultivated to a beauty way beyond their ancestors.

"This all started in the 1930s. The Rose Garden was a WPA funded project, which is something which has become an icon here in Tyler," said Stephanie Rollings, Parks and Recreation Director.

Rollings says the WPA fund was used to construct a stone pavilion, balcony, stairs and other garden features, while the thousands of rose bushes were added over the years.

"We have over 600 varieties, and about 32,000 bushes, all different types," Rollings said.

It is the Rose Garden, a designated Texas historic site, that has established Tyler as the Rose City.

"Steeped in history, the Rose Garden is definitely steeped in history," said Rollings.

A lot of roses are named after people, like the Barbara Bush, the Neil Diamond, and one of the newest roses, the Miranda Lambert Rose.

The Miranda Lambert rose bushes, named after the country music star who hails from nearby Lindale, is one of a number of varieties added after the late freeze of 2013.

"The freeze two years ago destroyed over 60% of our roses," Rollings said. "A lot of people don't know that, and so we really had to try to bring it back to its grandeur and that's taken time."

The roses here at the garden are at the height of their beauty in October, a perfectly timed setting for the Texas Rose Festival.

Liz Ballard, executive director of the festival, says the Rose Garden is the most beautiful venue possible for the queen's tea.

"All the queen and her court are in their costumes, and everyone is welcome to come and meet the queen and her court and take some fabulous pictures, and just enjoy a great time in our garden," Ballard said.

In the early days of the festival, the queen's tea was held at the queen's parent's home, but as attendance grew, the tea was moved to the Rose Garden, which can easily accommodate the thousands of people in attendance.

Over a hundred thousand people from around the world visit the Rose Garden each year. The garden is open year round and is free of charge.

The Texas Rose Festival is scheduled for October 15-18, with the Queen's tea at the Rose Garden on Saturday, October 17, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.

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