Fall Twilight at the Rose Garden

Cool temperatures are coming and daylight savings is ending in Santa Barbara. Longer nights and the crisp temperatures of fall are slowly replacing the days of summer sunshine that were so full of festivals and celebrations. To be fair, Santa Barbara’s mild climate doesn’t undergo the intensity of East Coast winters, but we have our own quiet version of the seasons. October evenings leave enough sunlight and warmth to eek out the last bit of revelry before dinner.

Photo Credit: Courtney Dietz

Before we set our clocks back on November 3rd and the time changes, we wanted to experience a seasonal, lingering sunset at an iconic Santa Barbara locale: the Mission. The 10th of the 21 California missions, the “Queen of the Missions” was built in 1786. Not one but two earthquakes damaged the original structure, the most severe being the great earthquake of 1925. While a major tourist destination, the Santa Barbara Mission is still operated by the Franciscans. It is the only mission to have been continuously active.

For a spectacular view of the Santa Barbara Mission, there is no better spot than the A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden directly across the street. With over 1,000 varieties of roses and 1,500 plants, the large grass-covered park provides a much-needed respite from the day-to-day grind.

Roses: The Pride of Santa Barbara planked wood sign. Find it in the shop!

The garden opened in 1955 with the donation of 500 rose bushes and has been lovingly cared for by a dedicated cadre of volunteers with the help of a part, and intermittently full-time, gardener. As a demonstration garden it often features top-performing varietals from across the country before they are released to the public. When the weather is warm and the breeze is just right, it becomes an incredible olfactory experience.

The bushes may not be in the peak of bloom this time of year, but there are always roses to stop and smell. Be sure to visit before the pruning event, which happens in January.