Tucked away in a corner of Danville is a lovely little rose garden. It's tempting to call it a secret garden, since I've lived in Danville for almost 29 years and didn't know about it. Many Danville residents have visited the amazing rose garden in Osage Park ... but this one? Unless you're a parishioner at St. Isidore Church, chances are you haven't been there.

Suzi Reynolds, of Danville, emailed me about this special place, located behind the Monsignor Cardelli Activities Center across the street from St. Isidore Church at 440 La Gonda Way.

"The roses are in raised beds and have been planted in memory of deceased family members, usually from the church," Suzi said. "There are also roses in front of the Monsignor Cardelli Activities Center and on the side, which are also maintained. There is also a lovely statue and Stations of the Cross around the perimeter."

I visited the rose garden last week on a sunny, hot afternoon. As I unlocked the wrought-iron gate, it felt almost like I was entering hallowed ground. A statue of a padre is framed in the rose-covered archway, and the roses were in full bloom, about 240 plants. There are 14 Stations of the Cross surrounding the rose garden.


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I spoke with Monsignor Daniel Cardelli, pastor emeritus at St. Isidore Church, who told me the rose garden was planned and built about 12 to 15 years ago. Its designer, Fernando Andrade, also designed the Osage Park rose garden. "It's a beautiful spot for quiet contemplation and prayer," Cardelli said.

"What is really special about this garden is that it is maintained by volunteers from the church," Suzi said. "There is a small group of Rosarians, as they are called, who do all the care and maintenance."

Dick Reynolds, Suzi's husband, has been helping maintain the garden for the past six or seven years, he said, pruning, cutting blossoms, fertilizing and removing the spent blooms and non-blossom-bearing suckers. The roses are watered with a timed irrigation system.

Carl Franke, of Danville, is the current chair of the Rosarian group. Born and raised in San Francisco, Carl moved to Danville with his family in 1986 after three years in Denver, where he worked for an oil company. He retired in 1996.

Carl worked with Andrade, the former chair, for about three years, until Andrade retired and moved from the area. Carl spends about eight hours a week in the rose garden, because some of the Rosarians have had to stop volunteering due to poor health or injury. Of those left, Carl said, "We've formed a bond, and we look forward to catching up on each other's news. It's sort of a labor of love for us."

"Carl does the most," said Suzi. "He even spends money out of his own pocket to maintain this garden. He is truly dedicated and a very humble human being."

"Up till two years ago, we had five people on Monday and five people on Thursday," said Dick. "Now it's dwindled to just Mondays."

The rose garden is open to the public, and new volunteers are welcome. For further information about volunteering, call Carl at 925-831-1989.

Heroes and Villains: The Danville Girls Chorus, comprising 135 girls from third to eighth grades from schools in the Tri-Valley area, will perform "Heroes vs. Villains," a pops concert featuring a tribute to heroes and villains of stage and screen, on May 31.

It's the final concert of their 2013/2014 season and will be held at the East Bay Four Square Church, 2615 Camino Tassajara Road in Danville. Tickets are $15.00 for adults and $5.00 for children and will be available at the door.

Girls in the second to seventh grades are invited to audition for the group's 2014-2015 season at 3:45 p.m. on June 3 at San Ramon Valley High School, 501 Danville Blvd., Danville. Email admin@danvillegirlschorus.org to register for an audition. The chorus is directed by Ken Abrams, award-winning choral director for San Ramon Valley High School. Girls are taught the basics of vocal production, learn the fundamentals of musicianship and note reading, and are introduced to a variety of musical styles, ranging from classical to contemporary, folk tunes, and pop music.

Contact Georgia Lambert at arounddanville@yahoo.com.