Exposition Park Rose Garden
Los Angeles, California
Exposition Park Rose Garden is a public park featuring a historic 7-acre sunken rose garden with a large fountain and multiple gazebos in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, California.
Address: 701 State Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Hours: 8:30am – dusk
Phone: (213) 763-0114, ext. 214
One of the first stops on my garden tour of the Los Angeles area was the Rose Garden at Exposition Park. This sizable sunken garden is nestled among several sports arenas, the Science Center, and the Natural History Museum. An ornate brick wall borders the entire garden and a line of impressive trees block out the bus stop and noisy traffic beyond. The garden has a peaceful quality but it is pleasing to see that enough people seem to make use of the area, including a fair number of amorous young couples.
In its heyday, it was heralded as “the largest rose garden in the world,” and is said to include around 200 different varieties of flowers. The garden has been threatened several times by different development schemes, but public outcry helped champion the cause, and in 1991 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It was understandable that the main fountain was off during my visit because of the CA water shortage, but I’d imagine it would complete the scene.
A semi-cloudy day with a slight breeze turned out to be the perfect setting to enjoy the garden to the fullest. Every passing wind wafts that intoxicating floral fragrance down the grassy pathways between flowerbeds. The roses almost seemed to be lit from within and glowed brightly against the gray skies and the green of their surroundings. It was fun to amble through the lanes, pulled about by all the competing colors all vying for our attention, and laughing at the amusing names listed on labels (Judy Garland, Pink Promise, Strike it Rich!).
Final Rating: For all of its many charms, impressive size, and transportive qualities, this garden is fairly simplistic in its basic grid layout. Some of the gazebos and sculptural elements feel added on and not so cohesive. The impressive trees and other plantings along the edges add some visual impact, but the roses seem rather rigid confined to their color-coordinated squares. All critiques aside, there is a magical quality about this sunken garden tucked into an otherwise unglamorous side of town. I am most impressed that the city keeps this garden in such good shape for locals and curious floral enthusiasts alike. This garden is totally worth a visit when the roses are in good bloom in late summer/early fall. 3 BLOOM RATING