Rose Production in Tyler, TX
PHOTO CREDIT: Antony Boshier
In Tyler, you might say business is blooming. Aptly named the “Rose Capital of America,” the city has enjoyed a highly successful rose industry since the 1920s, thanks to its sandy soil, year-round rainfall and moderate climate.
“At one time, Tyler was famous for growing peaches, but around the turn of the century, a pest called the San Jose scale destroyed most of the county’s peach crop,” says Craig Reiland, rose garden supervisor for the City of Tyler. “Soon people realized they could grow roses really well here, and Tyler began growing more than 60 percent of commercially grown roses in the country. We had the lion’s share of the market for quite a while.”
Tyler Municipal Rose Garden
Today, visitors from around the world come to explore Tyler’s fascinating rose history at the Tyler Rose Museum. More than 100,000 people also visit Tyler’s Municipal Rose Garden every year. The largest municipally owned rose garden in the country, it spans 14 acres and has more than 32,000 rose bushes representing more than 600 varieties of roses.
“The garden peaks two times a year, at the end of April and again in mid-October,” Reiland says. “There are modern roses with beautiful blooms, miniatures, climbers and Earth-Kind roses. Many people use the city’s rose garden as a tool for learning to grow roses in their own yards.”
Texas Rose Festival
Each October, the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden acts as the backdrop for the city’s annual Texas Rose Festival, a glittering tradition since 1933 that features the coronation of the Rose Queen, the popular Queen’s Tea, the Texas Rose Festival Show and the highly anticipated Rose Festival Parade. The four-day festival, laced with Southern hospitality and elegance, attracts more than 80,000 visitors.
In 2010, Tyler created the first annual Rose Season in response to requests from residents and visitors for more activities surrounding the Texas Rose Festival. The Rose Season lasts nearly the whole month of October and includes abundant activities, including wine tastings, concerts, cooking classes, museum tours, a marathon, rose garden tours and more. Rose Season pumps an estimated $2 million into the local economy.
Tyler Rose Growers
At least 10 rose growers and nurseries continue to thrive in Tyler, shipping roses all over the country and beyond.
Chamblee’s Rose Nursery offers group tours, and has been in business since 1953. Chamblee’s grows more than 300 varieties of roses which it sells both retail and wholesale.
“Both of my grandfathers grew roses, but I had planned a career in the medical field,” says Mark Chamblee, third-generation owner of Chamblee’s Rose Nursery. “While working my way through college, I changed career plans and decided to work in the rose business. I bought it from my dad in 1982.”
Chamblee’s roses are container-grown, although several commercial field growers still exist in East Texas.
“There are several large rose processing and production companies in the Tyler area – it is a very important part of our economy,” Chamblee says. “My favorite varieties are the disease-resistant ones such as Earth-Kind varieties. I love being around friends and associates I have met over the years while growing beautiful roses.”
Keep Tyler Rosey Campaign
To ensure Tyler’s rosy reputation lasts for generations to come, the City of Tyler and the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce launched a new initiative called Keep Tyler Rosey in August 2011. The initiative encourages local businesses to creatively showcase the rose in any manner they prefer, whether it’s planting roses in landscaping, decorating with rose arrangements, using roses on printed materials or displaying photos of local rose gardens.
“Today roses are not grown in the quantities they were at one time, but about one-third of the nation’s roses are still processed in Tyler,” says Kim Morris, marketing and communications specialist for the Tyler Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Roses are a key element to Tyler’s history and culture. They are what really put this East Texas town on the map. Keep Tyler Rosey is an effort to encourage the community to remember the flower that brings floods of tourists to Tyler every year and embrace that image within their business.”
Morris enjoys living and working in Tyler because of its supportive community and courteous, helpful people.
“We have great attractions and plenty of shopping,” she adds. “Not to mention the beauty surrounding Tyler. There are beautiful parks everywhere. Tyler is a community to be desired.”
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