TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - This week, Mark Scirto’s Mark in Texas History is about an industry that thrives today, rich in business and tradition. It’s the Smith County rose industry and Tyler Rose Garden.
The soil and long growing season make the Tyler area ideal for rose propagation. Commercial production began in the 1870s when industry pioneers sold rose bushes but boomed in the 1920s when nurserymen began using irrigation.
The Texas Rose Festival began in 1933 to publicize the industry and continues today. A museum was constructed to house the history of the festival.
The Tyler Rose Garden was started in 1952. It now spans 14 acres and has 600 different varieties of over 38,000 rose bushes.
According to the historical marker, the value of bushes and flowers shipped around the world in 1973 by local nurseries totaled $9 million. One-half of the bushes produced each year in the United States come from the Tyler area.
The rose industry and garden are both honored in one historical marker. It’s located in front of the museum on West Front Street.