Growing Strong: Maintainers ensure Rose Garden blooms

Published on Thursday, 5 June 2014 09:41 - Written by By KELLY GOOCH,

For Jose Avellaneda, each workday is about making roses look their best. 

Last month, Avellaneda, a laborer in the Tyler Rose Garden, cut dead wood off bushes so that the flowers can bloom properly, and at another time, he got down on his hands and knees to pull weeds out of a flowerbed. His work also includes picking up trash, planting, trimming, fertilizing, cutting dead limbs off trees, mowing and cleaning up flowerbeds.

In the summer, he ensures that there is enough pine straw to keep flowerbeds from drying out.

The 45-year-old said he enjoys everything about his job.

“I like working for the city. I like roses, too,” he said as he stood in the afternoon heat.

Groundskeeper Juan Landeros, 52, also enjoys working in the 14-acre Rose Garden, which, according to a brochure, features more than 32,000  bushes.

“I like to... answer questions about roses if I can,” he said. “I love it. I love working for the city, especially (in) the Rose Garden.”

Landeros didn’t know a lot about roses when he started, but over time, he’s learned “little by little.”

He said visitors ask questions about the size of the garden or the amount of roses there. People also ask if he knows the name of a certain rose, or where a certain rose is.

Avellaneda and Landeros are some of the workers who help maintain the Rose Garden.

The city is budgeted for five full-time staff members to help with Rose Garden maintenance, although there are currently two vacancies, Tyler Parks and Recreation Director Stephanie Rollings said. That’s in addition to community service workers and temporary workers, as well as the Smith County Master Gardeners, which maintain the IDEA, Heritage and Shade gardens.

When a new Rose Garden worker is hired, he or she generally has basic lawn care knowledge and has been in the maintenance business, Ms. Rollings said.

Still, she said, that individual has to be trained in how the fountains work, proper pruning techniques and the proper way to use equipment and care for special turf in the garden such as the Queen's Court. 

“It’s not easy to weed all these beds because of the roses. It’s not your normal flowerbed,” she said. 

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