Boise Places Worth Seeing

Julia Davis Rose Garden - Can't Beat That Rosy Smell

Looking for a great place to stop awhile and smell the, um, roses? The Rose Garden in Julia Davis Park is the place to go. It's the second-oldest rose garden in the Northwest and the largest rose garden in the Intermountain region, and it boasts over 2000 rose bushes in every type and color. How do I know all that? I read the sign outside the northern entrance. Personally I think 2000 seems like an exaggeration, but if the sign says so it must be true, right?

Even if the Rose Garden isn't the place you originally set out to go, it's centrally located near Zoo Boise, the Boise Art Museum, the Idaho Black History Museum, and the Idaho Historical Museum, so it can be a great add-on to any excursion from June through September. I suggest you make it a point to take your date or significant other there in June or July during the height of the bloom season. That's a sure-fire way to win a few extra kisses and maybe some heavy petting, if you're into that sort of thing.

Back ten years or so, the Rose Garden used to have a nice vine-covered, semi-secluded pergola that was perfect for a summer evening of romance. In fact, I'd say it would easily have been on my list of the best Boise make-out spots. Unfortunately, they eventually tore it down and put up a fancy gazebo thingamabob that might be great for formal occasions like weddings and great for grandma and grandpa to sit a spell, but it doesn't have nearly the romantic aura of the former. It does make for a great picture backdrop though.

The grounds themselves are well-maintained. The roses, of course, are tended with the utmost care, and the beds are given a new layer of lovely-smelling mulch at the beginning of every season. The grass paths that lure you from one bush to the next are soft and green, and although you will spot some clover and other semi-unsightly weeds here and there, they never look unkempt. Hey, I can't get the clover out of my yard either, so I'm certainly not holding it against anyone else.

On the east and west ends of the grounds are fountains that spray funky blue or green streams of water during the warm season. I'm not quite sure why regular uncolored water isn't good enough. Maybe kids are loath to drink water that looks like a green Super Rope or blue Otter Pop. Then again, maybe it's a strong sedative that keeps them from picking rose petals and making a racket. I don't know about you, but I appreciate that kind of stuff. Around the fountains are lots of memorials to loved ones. Be careful when you look at them or you're liable to get a little choked up at times.

Near the east fountain is where you'll also find a bronze statue of the one and only Julia Davis, for whom the park is named. If you want to get any closer to the presence of our most famous "city mother", you'll have to go to the Pioneer Cemetery on Warm Springs Avenue, where she's been comfortably resting for quite some time alongside hubby Tom.

Don't forget about this little jewel. It's great for a summer-eve stroll, and you'll always get some great pictures. Best of all, it's free. That sounds about right to me.

Place worth seeing: Julia Davis Rose Garden
Where: Julia Davis Park

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Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Cost: Free
Website: None that are any good
Fun fact: It's hard to screw up a romantic walk here. Even I can seem semi-charming among the roses.