Spring & Fall are the perfect times to walk through Mesa Community College's beautiful Rose Garden. With nearly 9,000 rose bushes, it's the largest public rose garden in the desert southwest. The serenity and splendor of the garden attracts many visitors; special events such as weddings and craft fairs are often hosted in the garden.
The Rose Garden exists largely because of the many community volunteers that care for it on a regular and seasonal basis. A team of several hundred people that volunteer as Deadheaders, Pruners, and those working in related support capacities keep the beds healthy and vibrant.
One of the most popular sections of the rose display is the Veteran's Garden completed in 2005.
Containing more than 2,500 roses with patriotic names such as About Face, America, Fourth of July, and Peace, the Veteran’s Rose Garden also boasts the first Blue Star Memorial plaque on a community college campus in the United States.
Irene Jensen, the president of the Arizona Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc., was responsible for working to get the Blue Star designation for the Veteran’s Garden. “I have a great appreciation for the freedoms that are enjoyed in the United States of America. For this, we owe much to those who have worn, are wearing, and will wear the uniform of our armed services.”
The Garden design is intended to evoke a sense of peace and tranquility. Garden designer, LeRoy Brady, knew the garden would mean something different for each person.
For Brady, nothing illustrated that fact more poignantly than an event he witnessed one Saturday afternoon in April. “I stood at my car and watched as a man in a Harley Davidson’s t-shirt hopped off his motorcycle and approached the garden,” Brady said. “He walked to the Marine’s flag in the second circle of the garden, got on his knees, made the sign of the cross and stood at attention a few minutes.”
Brady didn’t know it at the time, but realized later that the day was the 30th anniversary of the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam.
The Veteran’s Rose Garden is open 24/7. Guided tours can be scheduled by calling 480-461-7022.