They say May is the peak bloom time for the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden. They certainly don’t lie. Visit this garden at the height of the rose blooms and you will forget you are even in the United States any more. This garden is the closest I’ve seen in this area to gardens in Europe: highly manicured, highly sculptural, and bred for looks.
As the garden is bred for looks, it does not retain the strong perfume characteristic of “purebred” heritage varieties. If you want an extravaganza of smell, head down the street less than a mile to the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden. The preservation of breeds from the early 1900s is more wild and less of a feast for the eyes, but much more powerfully-scented.
You will find groups of people doing photoshoots at the Municipal Rose Garden nearly every weekend during this stunning season. I’ve seen groups taking baby photos, prom and bridesmaid photos, and even I have visited for a Marie Antoinette photoshoot.
However, be aware that shade is scarce at this park, except for under pine trees removed from the rose bushes. If you want professional-looking photos, bring shade equipment or wait until a cloudy day arrives (perhaps also a morning before the high-altitude fog dissipates).