Volunteers Help Old Roses Find New Homes

From old MLK to Joyce Ellington Library

Roses bushes and rose trees planted decades ago near the old Martin Luther King Jr. Library in Downtown San Jose have found new homes in neighborhood public spaces.

Come summer, Joyce Ellington Branch Library, Ryland Park and Bestor Art Park will be awash in color with blossoms from roses that otherwise would have been bulldozed over when the old library is demolished for future convention center expansion.

When Vendome Neighborhood resident Tina Morrill got a phone call that the rose bushes were available for neighborhood volunteers who could transplant them to public spaces, she immediately thought of Ryland Park.

“I wanted to take advantage that these were free, they were mature, they looked pretty and we had a spot for them,” she said.

There were several spots for the dozen plants that residents dug up and replanted in late January on both sides of Ryland Park on North San Pedro at North Market.

Morrill also notified other District 3 neighborhood associations.

The 13th Street Neighborhood Action Coalition members transplanted 12 rose bushes at Joyce Ellington Library, 491 E. Empire Street, to replace berry bushes; Spartan Keyes NAC volunteers transplanted 10 plants in Bestor Art Park, South Sixth and Bestor streets; and a few bushes went near a tot lot in Naglee Park.

The groups and residents who have adopted the roses are responsible for watering them in places that don’t have irrigation systems.