Exploring the Rose Capital of America

Molly McKinney gets the dirt on an East Texas town that might have probably produced the roses in your front yard.

Some folks might debate whether Texas is part of the South. But with all the friendly faces and great home cooking you’ll find south of the Red River, we think any Southerner will feel right at home here. And one thing they do better here than anywhere else in the South: roses. Our first stop is Tyler, Texas. The Rose Capital of America.

And it’s kind of an interesting story how that happened.

Tyler used to be famous for growing peach trees. But around the turn of the century, they got diseases and the peach crops went away. The farmers were looking for a new crop to grow and some folks with European heritage thought the area might be good for growing roses. So they tried it. And then it blossomed into a multimillion-dollar industry.

Half of all roses bushes sold in the United States actually pass through Tyler before making it to your home. But there are plenty of flower fans that head to Tyler for the classic rose experience.

People come from all over the world. Master Gardeners, American Rose Society members, rose enthusiasts and people who just love roses to plant in their garden at home.

While we were there, we picked up a few gardening tips as well. And the nursery has been in operation since 1953. So they know what they’re talking about.

Pruning is an important part of growing roses. The process allows space for more growth and results in a bushier plant with more blooms.

The thing to remember is to prune just above one of the bud eyes. Cut the branch at a 45-degree angle in the direction you want the growth to grow.

Tyler is home to the country’s largest public rose garden, the flowers reach their peak bloom every fall, just like the city’s passion for the thorny flower.

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And every October, they celebrate with a month-long Rose Festival. There are concerts, art festivals and art shows. Wine tastings, a parade, rose shows and a ball. There’s something for everyone to do … at America’s Rose Capital!