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Santa Clara University’s Wall of Climbing Roses

Articles: Santa Clara University’s Wall of Climbing Roses

Rosa ‘Chromatella’. Photographs by William Grant

[sidebar]Many are the opportunities in the planning of gardens for having a screen or hedge all of roses. There are often rubbishy or at least unbeautiful spaces on some of the frontiers of the . . . garden, where a rose screen or hedge will not only hide the unsightliness, but will provide a thing beautiful in itself . . .

Gertrude Jekyll, Roses, 1902[/sidebar]

Eleven years ago, two Silicon Valley neighbors faced rather different problems. Rooted in California’s Mission past, the 150-year-old Santa Clara University was expanding. New construction left the university with a bit of an eyesore along the highly visible half-mile of El Camino Real, the historic highway that forms its eastern border.

Just a freeway exit north, along Interstate 880, the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden, created by the expansion of San Jose’s Mineta International Airport, had a dilemma of its own: where to put two hundred climbing roses. Because this new public rose garden lies in the airport’s flyway, Federal Aviation Administration regulations prohibited building supports for...

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