Local teen gives San Jose Municipal Rose Garden a new look

Rose Garden Resident

The San Jose Municipal Rose Garden is getting a new look thanks to local teen Brandon Chapman, who is leading an effort to install 200 markers identifying rose species in the park.

Chapman, like many of his neighbors, considers the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden "his" park. So it's no surprise that when he was choosing his Eagle Scout project, he focused on doing something for the park near his home.

"I've pretty much grown up there," says the 17-year- old senior at Lincoln High School. "The Rose Garden is part of my community. I've played soccer there. I've barbecued there. I watched my older brother graduate there in 2002, and I'll graduate there next year."

Brandon's project sounds simple — to replace the older markers that identify rose species in the Rose Garden with new ones offering more detailed information. The new markers will be made with recycled materials whenever possible and embedded in the ground so they aren't easily pulled out.

Brandon is expecting to make 200 posts to hold the new markers, each of which must be cut to shape and then sanded down. Each plaque will have the name of the rose, what type it is, the year it was introduced into the Rose Garden and the name of the donor. Brandon will also work with the staff to

make sure the markers go into the right beds, as many of the old markers are missing.

Missing markers are an ongoing source of frustration for visitors to the garden who may like a rose and want to know its name or who are searching for a particular rose. The entire project will cost $2,316.63, according to Brandon's estimate. The Rose Garden Neighborhood Preservation Association has already contributed $1,000 to the project, and Brandon is hoping for a contribution from Friends of the Rose Garden.

To raise the rest of the funds, he is planning to stage car washes and is also soliciting contributions from Rose Garden neighborhood residents. Brandon's affinity for the Rose Garden comes in part from his mother, Helen Chapman, who chaired the San Jose Parks and Recreation Commission and served on it for six years.

Chapman was the driving force behind the creation of Hester Park next to the Rose Garden Library, and she remains a strong community advocate of parks.