Ten Things to Do During Rose Season in Woodlake, California

Welcome to Woodlake Rose Garden

Manuel and Olga Jimenez transformed an abandoned railroad right-of-way and a weedy dam levee into a beautiful and unique garden more than twenty years ago. Now Kiwanis of Woodlake, Homegrown, Master Gardeners, and other non-profit organizations partner to help the City of Woodlake to maintain western section up to the gate to the Botanical Gardens now dubbed the Woodlake Rose Garden.

There is nothing quite like this collection of around 2,000 roses in all of the Central Valley and indeed, all of California. The question is how can you delight in and preserve such a treasure?

purple rose
Breathe deeply

#1 Smell the Roses

The first most obvious thing to do is to stop and smell the roses. Even though it is only a one-mile walk from the beginning of the rose garden all the way through to the back of the Woodlake Botanical Gardens, it will take a while to sniff over 2,000 roses. Take your time.

pink tinged yellow centered rose
Can you name this rose?

#2 Bring Friends

Bring your friends, dog on a leash, kids, or grandparents with you to walk or sit and enjoy a pleasant visit as you smell the roses. It’s romantic. It makes you think pleasant thoughts. Unwind, relax, and spend and make some “scents” out of life. ūüôā

visitors enjoy the Woodlake Rose Garden
People of all ages find something to adore at the Woodlake Rose Garden.

#3 Take Photos and Videos

Bring your camera, phone, video recorder and take pictures. With over 2,000 roses and 134 varieties to savor, you don’t want to miss a shot. The gardens will look different the next time you come. Some of the roses change colors as they age.

Post your pictures in our new Facebook Group, Woodlake Rose Garden.

mixed color roses on the same bush
Yellow roses on a mixed rose bush

#4 Picnic at the Garden

Enjoy a picnic. Find a cool spot. Watch out for insects. Don’t forget to pick up your trash. There are trash cans at the gardens, but they fill up fast, so bring a trash bag and take it home with you to toss.

spider enjoying a yellow rose
Watch out for insects.

#5 Enjoy Bravo Lake

Walk, ride a bike or a horse, or run around the Bravo Lake, the secret lake behind the levees. Used mostly for irrigation purposes, it’s about three miles around the perimeter of Bravo Lake. If you feel ambitious, do it twice. Smile and say hi to everyone you see. Woodlake is the town with true western hospitality.

walkers at Bravo Lake
Path at Bravo Lake

#6 Pick Up Trash

Speaking of trash, it happens. If you see someone littering, point out that they dropped something. If you didn’t see it happen, take a trash bag and beautify the garden yourself. Bending is an effective exercise for flattening your tummy and burning off your picnic lunch. (Unless you use trash pinchers.)

kids pick up trash
Here is the Kiwanis/Builders Club de-trashers standing in the Botanical Gardens.

#7 Help Weed

Bring a spade and stop and dig weeds for a while. While the City of Woodlake owns and is responsible for Garden maintenance, it’s much too much work for their small staff. Each area of the garden is maintained by different non-profit groups. Weeds grow faster than all of the groups can get rid of them. So don’t be afraid to pull crabgrass, johnsongrass, and morning glory. If you get close to the rose bushes it helps to have long leather gloves or sleeves to protect your arms.

tea rose with weeds
Pull those weeds.

#8 Identify Roses

Help identify the roses. We don’t know what all of the 130 varieties are. Send your identification ideas to woodlakekiwanis@gmail.com or Message Kiwanis of Woodlake on Facebook. or post a picture in our Woodlake Rose Garden Group.

pink roses
Cluster of pink roses Enjoy an online puzzle of this picture. April Rose Garden 110 puzzle on TheJigsawPuzzles.com

#9 Donate

Remember the Woodlake Rose Garden. Make a donation to Kiwanis of Woodlake or Woodlake Pride to maintain or build up the gardens.

blooming cactus
Don’t be like these prickly turkeys. Stick your neck you and donate.

#10 Remember Your Visit

Turn your pictures into gifts, or purchase a Traveling and Blogging gift to remember the garden. Puzzles, Playing Cards, or other gifts made from photos.

Related Posts

One Last Thing Before You Go!

Didn’t you love the roses? You might not get to visit Woodlake Rose Garden but the ten ideas work almost anywhere you go, so I hope you try at least one of them.

Before you go, drop me a line, and let me know you’re still alive. Leave me a like and/or a comment, Like my Facebook Page, Always Write. It’s always fantastic to hear from you. ūüôā

Are Your Vacations Chill?

Three Ways to Ensure that Your Vacations Are Stress-Free

Go Constantly or Smell the Flowers?

Smell the frangipanis.

One thing my husband hates when we travel is someone who wants to go-go-go the entire time we are on the road because there are so many things we MUST see. Driving in strange places can be stressful. If he plans one or two excursions per day, he stays calm. Other people like to plan excursions, fortunately, I’m not one of them. I can adapt pretty well to what makes others happy. No one has asked me to climb Yosemite with no ropes, so I’m good.

If you have the opposite kind of personality, then it’s nice to be in a group so that the take-it-easy folks have company while they relax, and you and the kids (of any age) have someone to have a great time with until everyone winds down.

Plan for Down Time

We love to travel with friends who play cards at night. We can take our entertainment somewhere there is music and lots of people, or enjoy a game in our spacious room. Some people pack books, others watch television, others love to walk. It’s great to be close to what you enjoy doing. Some of our friends golf, our son hikes, and bikes. Our resort in Sedona, AZ is perfect for both of them. Do you love to cook with friends? That’s why we love our timeshare. All the units have kitchens and usually a place to barbeque. You can enjoy the ambiance of the location and the comfort of home at the same time.

Don’t take selfies at the Grand Canyon. It will give the people in your party heart attacks. Two people died that way the week we visited Sedona. I couldn’t sleep that night and I didn’t know them.

Research and Discuss Your Ideas of Fun with Your Companions Ahead of Time

Have some ideas about what you want to do and see in the area even if you don’t get to do it. My husband had to wait for a couple of trips before we finally took a helicopter ride over Maui because the people with us did not want to go. When we finally took the plunge, the woman in the backseat of the helicopter was like I was on horseback – in tears the entire ride. We didn’t know her, but it’s stressful for everyone when someone doesn’t speak up about their fears.

Escape the Heat
Pier at Newport, OR

My brother and I took a very calm boat excursion. He never mentioned that he would get as deathly seasick as he did. He could not walk! He wanted me to have a good time and I was excited about going. I wasn’t prepared, but someone else on the boat gave him a Dramamine, and he calmed down somewhat.

A Traveling and Blogging Near and Far Puzzle

Want to Make the Most of Your Vacation Memories?

Turn your images into playing cards or puzzles. Here is a link to set of playing cards I made of a trip to Kings Canyon National Park.
As a gift, they are no more expensive than buying a trinket that doesn’t have much meaning to you and your companions, but if you have a photograph that you love, turn it into something fun rather than just a book. Check out Traveling & Blogging puzzles. Make one of your own, or buy one of ours.

Book a Discounted Vacation Through Traveling & Blogging Near & Far

We have some extra points with Diamond Resorts that we are not going to use this year. I have one vacation to Hawaii already booked, which I can’t use. Check it out! But I still have points that I have to use this year. I can’t bank them all, so YOU can use them! Where would you love to go? I may be able to book you a beautiful suite for much less than the cost of a hotel room.

Travel Like an Expert: “Don’t Do This!”

TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES AND MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any way you choose.” Dr. Seuss

Over the years you would think I would have everything mastered for seamless travel. ¬†Each trip is memorable for something I shouldn’t do. Here are some of them so that you can avoid the pitfalls that trapped me.

St. Louis Arch and Old Courthouse in the background.
St. Louis Arch and Old Courthouse in the background.

Seventeen Travel Tips

1) ¬†If you fly for business, don’t book your flight far in advance of your meetings. I booked my flight in early August to attend a November conference. Two days ahead of time I entered all my meeting times into my online calendar for the first time. The meeting I chaired started at 4:00 p.m and my plane arrived at 5:00 p.m.

2) ¬†Don’t trust the “change your flight plans insurance” to cover mistakes like, “I didn’t know I had a meeting scheduling conflict.” ¬†While it may not be your fault, it is not the airline’s fault either, and insurance doesn’t cover that. ¬†Read the 45 pages fine print.

3) ¬†When you connect flights, make sure you get to the right gate and not the one next to the right gate. Keep checking for changes in the gate. Don’t read something engaging; they don’t hold the plane for 20 minutes after take-off for you to get on. (Apparently, they don’t call your name over the intercom either.)

4) ¬†Book through United Airlines rather than US Air. If you miss your connecting flight, they will get you on another flight without charging you. I’ve done that twice. Both American and US Air did not help.

5) ¬†Don’t print your ticket up at home. ¬†If you are lucky, when they print your ticket at the airport, you might get a “Pre-Check” ticket, which is given randomly. Or you can buy them through Homeland Security for $100 for 5 years. The application may kick you offline, and you have an interview, but Pre-Check is like gold.

6) ¬†Since Pre-Checkers don’t have to take their shoes off, don’t wear buckles on your shoes.

7) ¬†When you do miss your flight, and they book you on another flight, and you leave the customer service counter without a printed ticket, don’t assume that you can get your confirmed seat without a ticket. This happened to me twice with two different airlines. Both flights were overbooked, and the clerks were rude.

8) ¬†When the clerk tells you that there are no more seats on the flight and you have a ticket don’t assume that there are no more seats. Wait until the plane loads. Stand near the counter and look old and helpless. If there is a seat, he or she will find it just to get you out of his hair.

8) ¬†Do not wear a blouse with trapunto stitching when you fly. The naked airport scan indicated that I was carrying illicit something in my blouse. The TSA agent had to put her gloved hand in my bra to check for hidden contraband even though I assured her there wasn’t much in there. On her third check, the agent¬†got mad at the¬†naked picture reader behind the plastic curtain.”It’s just stitching. There is NOTHING THERE!” she announced in a loud voice.

9) ¬†Don’t try to joke with the TSA agent when they are searching in your bra for drugs and counterfeit money.

10) ¬†Don’t overpack your carry-on luggage even though you don’t want to pay for checking a bag. If you can’t squeeze it in the overhead bin, the attendants and passengers get angry even if you look old and helpless. Best to check it at the last-minute, if you can. Better to pack light!

12) ¬†If you are going long distances on a full train, don’t assume that you have been assigned to the correct seat. ¬†I went to the restroom and came back to an occupied seat.

13)  If you sit next to someone on the train who either stinks or has on too much perfume, consider drinking all night.  At least in the dining car, you can choose who you sit with. (to a point).

14) ¬†When you drive at night in strange towns, and your GPS tells you the streets to take, don’t assume 1) that they are not torn up, and 2) that they are not one-way streets. ¬†In South Bend, IN, fortunately, there was a parking lot that led to the one-way street that went the direction I needed to go.

SFW 2013 STL Lights 114

15) ¬†If you are going back east in the winter, don’t forget to take more than one coat. Costco sells down coats that roll into a little ball. ¬†St. Louis hit twelve degrees with the wind chill factor.¬†California winters do not prepare travelers for that.

16)  DO NOT eat fish and chips at 10:00 am in an airport restaurant. You might not feel the effects for 12 hours, but you will feel them.

17) Don’t forget to pack Imodium pills.

Here are some pictures from my trip to St. Louis, MO. I hope you will enjoy.

What travel “do not do what I did tips” do you have?

Best “Don’t Do This” Travel Tips

take off your shoes and make yourself at home

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any way you choose.” Dr. Seuss

Over the years you would think I would have everything mastered for seamless travel. ¬†Each trip is memorable for something I shouldn’t do. Here are some of them so that you can avoid the pitfalls that trapped me.

St. Louis Arch and Old Courthouse in the background.
St. Louis Arch and Old Courthouse in the background.

1) ¬†If you fly for business, don’t book your flight far in advance of your meetings. I booked my flight in early August to attend a November conference. Two days ahead of time I entered all my meeting times into my online calendar for the first time. The meeting I chaired started at 4:00 p.m and my plane arrived at 5:00 p.m.

2) ¬†Don’t trust the “change your flight plans insurance” to cover mistakes like, “I didn’t know I had a meeting scheduling conflict.” ¬†While it may not be your fault, it is not the airline’s fault either, and insurance doesn’t cover that. ¬†Read the 45 pages fine print.

3) ¬†When you connect flights, make sure you get to the right gate and not the one next to the right gate. Make sure that you keep checking for changes in the gate. Don’t read something engaging, or you might miss your flight, and they don’t hold the plane for 20 minutes after take-off for you to get on. (Apparently, they don’t call your name over the intercom either.)

4) ¬†Book through United Airlines rather than US Air. If you miss your connecting flight, they will get you on another flight without charging you anything. I’ve done that twice. Both American and US Air did not help.

5) ¬†Don’t print your ticket up at home. ¬†If you are lucky, when they print your ticket at the airport, you might get a “Pre-Check” ticket, which is given randomly. Or you can buy them through Homeland Security for $100 for 5 years. The application may kick you offline, and you have an interview, but Pre-Check is like gold.

6) ¬†Since Pre-Checkers don’t have to take their shoes off, don’t wear buckles on your shoes.

7) ¬†When you do miss your flight, and they book you on another flight, and you leave the customer service counter without a printed ticket, don’t assume that you can get your confirmed seat without a ticket. This happened to me twice with two different airlines. Both flights were overbooked, and the clerks were rude.

8) ¬†When the clerk tells you that there are no more seats on the flight and you have a ticket don’t assume that there are no more seats. Wait until the plane loads. Stand near the counter and look old and helpless. If there is a seat, he or she will find it just to get you out of his hair.

8) ¬†Watch what you wear when you fly. ¬†I wore a blouse that had shrunk and raised stitching. ¬†The naked airport scan indicated that I was carrying illicit something in my blouse. ¬†The TSA agent had to put her gloved hand in my bra to check for hidden contraband even though I assured her there wasn’t much in there. ¬†On her third check, the agent¬†got mad at the¬†naked picture reader behind the plastic curtain.”It’s just stitching. There is NOTHING THERE!” she announced in a loud voice

9) ¬†Don’t try to joke with the TSA agent when they are searching in your bra for drugs and counterfeit money.

10) ¬†Don’t overpack your carry-on luggage even though you don’t want to pay for checking a bag. If you can’t squeeze it in the overhead bin, the attendants and passengers get angry. If you can’t lift it, look old and helpless, and sometimes people help. Sometimes they just get irritated. Best to check it at the last-minute, if you can. Better to pack light!

12) ¬†If you are going long distances on a full train, don’t assume that you have been assigned to the correct seat. ¬†I went to the restroom and came back to an occupied seat.

13)  If you sit next to someone who either stinks or has on too much perfume, consider drinking all night.  At least in the dining car, you can choose who you sit with. (to a point).

14) ¬†When you drive at night in strange towns, and your GPS tells you the streets to take, don’t assume 1) that they are not torn up, and 2) that they are not one-way streets. ¬†In South Bend, IN, fortunately, there was a parking lot that led to the one-way street that went the direction I needed to go.

SFW 2013 STL Lights 114

15) ¬†If you are going back east in the winter, don’t forget to take more than one coat. Costco sells down coats that roll into a little ball. ¬†St. Louis hit twelve degrees with the wind chill factor.¬†California winters do not prepare travelers for that.

Here are some pictures from my trip to St. Louis, MO. I hope you will enjoy.

What travel “do not do what I did tips” do you have?