Rose Garden Roots: History of the Amador Senior Center Rose Garden
by Dorothy Wall
As I watched the video that was shown at our February 2016 meeting about the present day Senior Center Rose Garden, I could not help but notice that no mention was made of when the garden was begun (1988.) The present day garden is relatively new, the latest renovation less than five years ago. As I looked around the full auditorium, it came to me that only 2 or 3 people in the room knew the history of the garden. A sobering thought! There was scarcely a person there to whom I could say “Remember when?”
History is entwined in our roots. It becomes a responsibility to pass this history on. Today’s communications are swift and perishable.
Gardens by their nature are in a continual state of renewal and new beginnings. We begin again and again often every year. Lucky are we who have enthusiastic new people to respond to the challenge.
When I began this short article I came across a little brochure that was printed to celebrate 25 years of the Amador Senior Center, covering some of the events from 1985 to 2010. It was tucked into a beautifully written commemorative book called “In Full Bloom” put together by many of the original Senior Center staff, including Laurie Webb and Eileen Hardy.
Kay Polk was interviewed on October 26, 2009, as she was on her way to volunteer at the Thrift store. I have taken the liberty of quoting the following passage from that interview.
“The Rose Society started the garden at the Senior Center and has been very, very active since the beginning.
When the Rose Society first got involved in the Center, it was a very small group of people. They were looking for a ‘cause’ and they thought it would be nice to plant some roses here at the center. Over the years, that’s what we’ve done; planted and taken care of the roses.
The roses in the front are called Simplicity. They have just been soooo good. And early on I remember Carl Rach was so particular. He’d be saying, “Now, it HAS to be 18” apart. You’re a little bit over here, so we’ll need to fix that.” When we look back now, we say that he did a darned good job of figuring it all out.”
In the beginning, when we put in the brick work in the back, the water system, things like that, George helped Cliff Wall with the heavy work. We built the raised beds and the pathways… George did a lot of that work. We wanted to turn it into a garden where people could wander or sit down”.
There have been so many people that have worked on the garden, naming names is always precarious because there will always be someone that was not mentioned who should have been. Some of the very dedicated ones that stand out in my memory are Norma & Doug Erickson from Moke Hill, Marlene & Sylver Schaller from Angel’s Camp, Bob Douglass, Fred Fabian, Ruthie Andersen who diligently came to do what she could (Ruthie had cerebral palsy, still living). And of course we have Elsina Dean, Katherine Dexter, Kay Polk, Wilma Yount and myself, still going strong today and all promising to cut down on the number of roses that they grow!
Webmaster Note: Thank you to Dorothy Wall who served as MLRS Public Rose Garden Chair for many years for this rosy walk down memory lane. Thank you to our current Public Rose Garden Chairs Steve and Debra Kinnick, and all the garden volunteers, past and present, for helping to make the community a more beautiful place.