Mission Street Parks Conservancy (then Friends of Bush Gardens) and the City of Salem began the latest rehabilitation of the Municipal Rose Garden early in 2016 when ducks were seen swimming in several of the rose beds.
Friends of Bush Gardens (FOBG) brought together Salem Parks, the Salem Rose Society, and others knowledgeable in things such as soils to address the poor drainage problem and the lack of vigor in many of the rose plants. The group decided to add 11 inches of a mixture of 70% clay loam and 30% garden compost thus raising many of the roses and to change the timing of the irrigation to avoid watering the roses too early in the morning.
FOBG formed the Rose Committee to make decisions about which of the original roses should be kept, which rose beds needed to be raised, and which roses should be added to the collection. During the three-year rehabilitation, the Committee raised 48 beds (60% of the Hybrid Tea/Floribunda rose beds), dug up, divided, and replanted 23 beds of old roses, and purchased over 650 new roses. Crews from Marion County Corrections did most of the heavy work while FOBG volunteers and then-head gardener, Tom Beatty, moved and installed most of the roses and oversaw the edging of all the beds. FOBG and the City shared the cost of the new roses.