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June weddings on hold at Capitol landmark

The International World Peace Rose Garden at the state Capitol is one of the most romantic spots in Sacramento. (Photos courtesy International World Peace Rose Garden)

Gatherings restricted at famous rose garden

Some rose gardens were made for romance.

On the state Capitol grounds, Sacramento’s International World Peace Rose Garden seems to overflow with love.

With its heart-shaped pavilion and dozens of inspirational plaques bearing words of love, the half-acre garden on 15th Street is a favorite spot for weddings as well as engagements and other romantic events. (In a 2018 Sacramento News & Review reader poll, it was named “The Best Place to Visit on a First Date.”)

Hundreds of weddings have been held in this rose garden, among the most photographed locations in Sacramento.

But not this summer. COVID-19 has put this rosy wedding tradition on hold.

Restrictions on gatherings are affecting this favorite venue.

“I am still getting requests for weddings,” said T.J. David, the garden’s co-creator and chief operating officer.

David refers those requests to the California Highway Patrol, which handles permits for all gatherings on the state Capitol grounds.

“The state Capitol is not approving permits for events through the end of June,” David said this week. “We’ll wait and see if that changes at the end of June.”

More red roses have been added to the garden for dramatic backdrops.
What will happen to June weddings already permitted is unclear. On its online calendar, the CHP still lists at least nine June weddings plus eight others in July that were approved before the coronavirus shutdown.

Part of its appeal: This venue is available free. The only catch: Event organizers need a valid CHP permit. The garden (“Area No. 1” on the state Capitol permit website at ) can be reserved up to 12 months in advance.

In anticipation of a busy wedding season this summer, David and his volunteers along with the state Capitol maintenance crew made several major improvements to the garden during the winter months. Decomposed granite walkways were replaced with pavers – much better for walking down the aisle in high heels.

Near the garden’s arbor entrance, David added several deep red “In the Mood” roses to create a dramatic backdrop for wedding photos. The garden’s large fountain is surrounded by the same red roses.

The planting was designed “to create a new highly photogenic area with a high number of various angles to delight garden visitors and photographers,” David said. “The garden is a living artistic canvas of roses of various colors and fragrances.”

Overall, 40 new bushes were added to the Victorian-inspired garden, bringing its total to about 700. Right now, the garden is at its peak of bloom with a spectacular display of “living bouquets” for the public to enjoy.

Weddings or not, the garden continues to be open free daily to visitors from sunrise to sunset. Smell (and photograph) the roses all you like. “Every rose has fragrance, from slight to strong,” David noted.

But hands off the flowers, he added. “The garden has a policy of ‘Do Not Pick the Roses,’ so everyone can come and enjoy a lovely experience of waves of roses in bl oom.”


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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