Credit: Robert Funai

[Update: Jan. 11, 2023] The volunteer Rose Pruning Day at the A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden has been rescheduled for next Saturday, January 21, due to the storm expected this weekend. In the event of rain on the 21st, the event will be postponed again to the following Saturday, January 28.

[Original Story] Gardeners, prepare your pruners. The City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department is hoping for as many as 150 volunteers to trim the 1,500 rose bushes populating the Mission Rose Garden as part of its annual Rose Pruning Day on January 14.

The pruning-palooza has been a January tradition for nearly 40 years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was canceled in 2020 and 2021, but it returned with a record-breaking turnout of 100 volunteers in 2022. Volunteers joining this year’s event will spend the morning pruning the roughly one-acre AC Postel Memorial Rose Garden — as the rose garden across the street from Old Mission Santa Barbara is officially known.

“Volunteers are vital to maintaining over 1,500 rose bushes,” Parks Supervisor Ramiro Arroyo said. “Being able to do all this work in one day means we’re ready to mulch and feed the roses as soon as new growth starts in February. This promotes better growth, and we end up with an even better-looking garden than the year before.”

Budding rosarians can sharper their skills during a demo hosted by Santa Barbara Rose Society member Dan Bifano on the day of the event. Volunteers should wear sturdy long-sleeve shirts and pants, as well as sun protection. They are also encouraged to come equipped with their own gardening gloves and tools, including hand pruners, loppers, and small handsaws, which Parks and Recreation staff will be on hand to help sharpen and sanitize. 

The event takes place 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 14, but will be rescheduled to the following Saturday, January 21, in the event of rain.

For more information on the event or additional volunteer opportunities, call the Parks Division at (805) 564-5433.

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