Santa Paula Times

“It’s a good place to look for lizards,” said 7-year-old Julian Parrish last week as people gathered to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the planting of “Margo’s Garden” at Sant Paula Hospital. Photo by Wally Bobkiewicz

30th year: Margo’s Rose Garden on Hospital Hill celebrated

April 25, 2007
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesSitting against a backdrop of various shades of yellow, pink, coral, red, violet and lively combinations of same, Martha Knight said she remembers the day 30 years ago that Margo’s Rose Garden on Hospital Hill was dedicated.“It’s more than a garden...” said Knight who with other celebrants attended the 30th birthday party for the garden on Thursday.The guests of honor were the row upon row of gorgeous roses as well as those volunteers who have ensured that the garden still flourishes.Created by Cathy and Carl Barringer and their family to honor the memory of Cathy’s late mother, Catherine Emily “Margo” Morris, a lover of roses, the garden has served as a backdrop for simple weddings and a place to relax or gain composure for those with loved ones at Santa Paula Hospital.The beauty of the garden is undeniable noted Knight, whose late husband Jim was the hospital’s first administrator who served for decades.“The Rose Garden is just wonderful, it makes for such a great approach to the hospital,” said Knight, whose own favorites are the bright yellow Sunshine roses.“They’re just precious looking things,” said Beverly Harding of the Cecil Brunner - a large bush with smaller pink blooms - that reminds her of her childhood and the family’s own bush outside their Pleasant Street home.The Rose Garden represents “roses and the dedication” of the volunteers who have kept the garden up over three decades, said Harding, and as “everything now is busy, busy, busy...this is a nice, quiet and beautiful place to relax.”Cathy Barringer welcomed the crowd that braved a cold breeze to celebrate the garden.
“I want to thank everyone especially those people who helped,” the Barringers create the garden including the late Roy Wilson Jr. who provided the irrigation system and John Stroh who designed the informal park that would have been to Margo’s liking.All the roses are either patents of Cathy’s father, noted grower Albert B. Morris, who owned Western Rose Company in the San Fernando Valley and was a founding member of All American Rose Selections, or favorites of Margo’s.Volunteers meet weekly during pruning season to groom the bushes and the garden, which features an arbor and benches.Stalwart helpers continued on even after the hospital was closed and there was no water and through Cathy’s recent five-month absence due to illness.“I think through the years I especially appreciate this year,” and the efforts of the volunteers as well as Dr. Sam Edwards, who helped to reopen the hospital, noted Cathy. “The roses are looking particularly wonderful and I want to thank everyone.”People often visit the garden to “admire the roses and relax” said Hospital Administrator Michael Borelli who offered his own thanks to Cathy and the “volunteers who put all the work into this wonderful garden.”Councilman Ralph Fernandez said that to him the garden symbolizes the “beauty and wealth of Santa Paula” and the dedication of volunteers.Seven-year-old Julian Parrish, who was born at the hospital, had a different take on the garden: “It’s a good place to look for lizards,” he noted.