November 22, 1907 Thomas Davis deeded a tract of land to the city as
a memorial to his wife, Julia Davis, with the stipulation the land would
always be used as a park. On May 11, 1932 five more tracts were deeded
to the City of Boise- the Rose Garden is located in this area.
In 1935 the Rose Garden idea seems to have originated with H.C. Schuppel
who was Chairman of the Men’s Garden Club called the ‘ Cut Worms’.
The Club was restricted to 20 members and had 2 rules- NO Women and NO Publicity.
Some of those members, I am sure, influenced the rose garden planning.
One member – John Jensen of Jensen Stationary did landscaping with the
Park Service in Minneapolis- in Colorado and New York and was called into consultation
on landscaping plans for the Howard Platt Garden at The Depot.
Another member- Carl Dirks- his specialty was roses and Glads.
Judge C.E. Winstead grew immense and amazing roses.
Fred B. Wood- a nursery man who tried to grow everything a little better than
David Petrie had a nursery on Cole Rd and Sydney Nelson had a nursery off Broadway.
Tom McLeod, also a member, was Park Superintendent and was the one who planned
the layout of the Garden.
On March 18, 1938 three hundred roses received from Jackson Perkins and 1500
more came from Villa Nurseries in Portland. The purchases were made possible
by 67 Club and individual donors.
The Second Phase in 1939 called for another 1000 roses.
In June 1939 the rose garden was dedicated.
In February 1978 the Idaho Rose Society was organized. One of our members
was Marguerite Lewis who wrote a gardening column for the Idaho Statesman
published a book with the same title as her column –
Woman with a Hoe”.
From 1974 to 1990 I was in charge of the Flower Show at the Western Idaho Fair
and became well with Marguerite and also Paul Vetter and Ed Taddicken of the
To help publicize the garden, Marguerite suggested displaying cut blooms
from the Fair might help. A picture was taken and enlarged of the garden
behind a display of cut blooms from the Rose Garden. To make them stand out
we enlisted the help of a bar near Marguerite to save one brand of beer bottle
that would contrast to the clear bottles that were used in the rest of the
show. They did stand apart. So may people would stop and ask, ‘where
is the rose garden?’
All went well until one day after replacing the spent blooms, Ed and Paul
returned to the garden to see a lady walking out with a large quantity of
roses. When told she couldn't do that – her response was- you can pick them,
I can pick them!!! So ended the display at the Fair.
June of 1979 on our way home from a luncheon, Marguerite wanted to stop by
the rose garden. Seeing that it was in need of a little help, I set up an appointment
with Paul Vetter and Ed Taddicken. Marguerite proposed a Memorial Fund to be
used to commemorate family and friends- living or dead. Paul and Ed took the
idea to Jack Cooper, Park Director, where it was warmly received. The Rose
Society collects the funds for memorials and the Parks Department does the
maintenance. Marguerite said she would put her money where her mouth was and
donated the first $50 in memory of her husband. Half the bed of Mr. Lincoln
is still there.
In June 1982, Lynn Jennings who was in charge of the Memorial Fund then iniated
Rose Appreciation Day with ‘Sunday in the Rose Garden’. As a
result of this the two fountains were donated in memory of the Kepros family.
Jack Cooper seeing an opportunity for fund raising changed it to ‘Sundae
in the Rose garden’ and ice cream was sold. Our source of ice cream disappeared
after the fourth or fifth year and it became “Arts and Roses.”
In 1981 or 1982 Jack Cooper had a pergola moved into the center of the Garden.
Wisterias were planted by the posts and rhododendrons planted at both ends.
The wisterias were beautiful but became too heavy for the structure, so unfortunately
had to be replaced. In the spring of 2000, Jim Hall had a new pergola moved
in that we are enjoying today.
In July 1991, we applied for an AARS Public Rose Garden Accreditation. After
1 year probation we were accepted and now receive ten bushes each year of the
All American winners before they are available on the market, and for free.
These are planted at the east end of the garden. The Garden also receives National
publicity in garden magazines as a place to visit.
In 1993, Sophie Bezmarevich, who lives in Twin Falls, Idaho, made a memorial
contribution that would pay for all the brick work around the gazebo and later
in 1998 paid for the extension of the brick walkway to the parking lot.
In May 2000, a bed of Gift of Life roses were dedicated to honor all organ
donors. Recipient of a heart and recipient of an eye were present for this
After all of this I wonder what is still ahead……………..time