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Morcom Rose Garden

Updated on August 16, 2014

Morcom Rose Garden - One of Oakland's hidden treasures

Morcom Rose Garden is certainly one of Oakland's best kept secrets. Nestled into a residential neighborhood off Grand Ave, Morcom Rose Garden is a historic treasure that's worth a visit. Join me on a tour of one of Oakland's most serene places.

A beautiful book of American rose gardens.

Beautiful American Rose Gardens
Beautiful American Rose Gardens

This is a lovely book full of gorgeous photos of some of America's most beautiful rose gardens.


Out of the Depression...

A postcard of the garden as it appeared in the 1930s
A postcard of the garden as it appeared in the 1930s

One of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's most ambitious projects as part of the "New Deal" of the 1930s was the Works Progress Administration. This program put millions of unskilled Americans to work building civic projects like bridges, gardens, theaters and much more.

One of the projects that WPA brought to Oakland was the Morcom Amphitheater of Roses, later renamed the Morcom Rose Garden. Named after Oakland Mayor Frank Morcom, the garden became a reality in 1933 when Mayor Morcom planted the first rose there. For over 80 years the rose garden has grown, been replanted, fallen into disrepair and then revived. The garden as it stands today is almost identical to the original. It offers a peaceful and beautiful escape from the chaos of urban life.

A sanctuary for both people and wildlife

At over 7 acres, the garden is one of the largest open public spaces in the Grand Avenue neighborhood. Turkeys, hawks, songbirds and squirrels are just some of the local fauna to be seen. Here is a rare Cooper's Hawk that visited the garden.

A turkey tries to hide in the vegetation surrounding the garden.

photo by jdnx on Flickr.

The Volunteers who keep it beautiful

Like many of Oakland's parks and public spaces, the Morcom Rose Garden is maintained by a team of volunteers from the area. They meet once a month to deadhead, weed and take care of the roses.

The master volunteers, or "Dedicated Deadheaders" are the most experienced and dedicated (hence the name) volunteers in the garden. They are trained by experienced "Rosarians" in how best to care for the roses and garden. If you are interested in volunteering, more information can be found here.

Getting to the Garden

Click here to get driving directions to the garden.

There is rarely parking on Jean Street. You can go take Sunnyside Avenue to Olive Avenue and park there if you can't find a spot. Make sure to read the signs if you plan on being there for a while, there are 2 hour limits on some streets and street sweeping. Parking tickets in Oakland are quite expensive.

photo by Hitchster on Flickr.

Want to see the garden in full bloom?

Summer is rose season in the Bay Area. The roses are blooming by April and reach their crescendo in June and July.

photo my own
photo my own

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Planning a Wedding?

The Garden is a popular and very romantic place to get married.

Here's the info I found on the official garden website:

Wedding Schedule:

Wedding reservations are available Mother's Day through October 31st

Rental Areas:

The entire outdoor facility at the Rose Garden can be reserved.


200 Standing

Times Available:

9:00 am ~ 11:00 am

11:15 am ~ 1:15 pm

1:30 pm ~ 3:30 pm

3:45 pm ~ 5:45 pm

6:00 pm ~ 8:00 pm

Minimum Rental Requirements 

Minimum of two hours for the use of the facility plus deposit.

Please Note:

There are restrictions that apply for the reservation and usage of this facility. Food and Beverages are not allowed. Electricity is not available and generators are not allowed on the premises. The Office of Parks and Recreation does not provide set up nor chairs for this facility. Customers are responsible for providing chairs for their wedding ceremony.

Americans with Disabilities Act

The Rose Garden is accessible by patrons on foot or by wheelchair along the primary path of travel through the scenic rosebuds. The bathrooms and waterfall path are not accessible.

photo by sleepytako on Flickr.

What do you think of Morcom Rose Garden? Have you ever been there?

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    • profile image

      sybil watson 4 years ago

      I had no idea this garden existed, and I'm from the Bay Area and went to Cal. What a beautiful spot for a wedding.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Wow. I live in El Sobrante but I go to church in Oakland. Now I know a fantastic visit on the way home. BTW - the volunteer page to this garden was very creative and compelling.

    • iwrite100 profile image

      Maribel Forayo 5 years ago from Philippines

      Absolutely beautiful!

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      Looks like a super rose garden

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      I never thought I might find such a fantastic garden in Oakland.

    • profile image

      Onlineconection 5 years ago

      Fantastic!. I wish to be there.

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 5 years ago from London

      Sadly no. I love roses, and left teaching to retrain in horticulture in the Royal Parks rose garden in Regents Park years ago. The smell of a rose garden in early summer is totally transporting.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      What a beautiful garden and sanctuary! Btw, that is one beautiful hawk photo!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 5 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I would love to see this rose garden. I was born in Oakland, and lived there for a while, but never heard about this place before.

    • Tom Maybrier profile image

      Tom Maybrier 5 years ago

      @olmpal: It really is great. Weddings there must be quite memorable. I'm always sad when the summers end and the roses go dormant.

    • profile image

      olmpal 5 years ago

      What beautiful garden! The Volunteers do a great job! A wonderful place for couples that will choose it for their weddings.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Never been to that city to see the Rose Garden. I've seen the rose garden that belonged to rose collector and aficionada Mable Ringling (wife of John Ringling of the circus). I enjoy these types of places a great deal.

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 5 years ago

      I would love to see the Morcom Rose Garden in person. The photos are beautiful and it sounds like a lovely way to spend a day.

    • ae dc profile image

      ae dc 5 years ago

      beautiful! congrats on the purple star, well deserved.

    • GoGirl2012 profile image

      GoGirl2012 5 years ago

      absolutely beautiful - i love roses and nature

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very beautiful.

    • montanatravel52 profile image

      montanatravel52 5 years ago

      What a great idea - I love the idea of this garden, and you have beautifully displayed it! I would love to visit it. When I lived in Chicago, there was a much smaller scale version of a garden like this in the suburbs that I used to visit just as a "retreat", and to remind myself of the simple and wonderful things in life, thanks for the reminder!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 5 years ago

      I used to live in the East Bay but never knew about this garden. Now that I know I'll plan to visit next time I'm in the area. Thanks

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      I'd love to visit this garden. You know its a wonderful place when rare birds are hanging out.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      So lovely, I really do love gardens, this is such a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing.

    • LadyFlashman profile image

      LadyFlashman 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Ahh it looks so lovely! I love the rose photos, it must be a very tranquil place to go and just relax.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      It has to have delightful fragrances, very lovely garden.

    • hippiechicjewelz profile image

      hippiechicjewelz 6 years ago

      Breathtakingly beautiful! Your photos are gorgeous, I wish I could travel to see this glorious garden!

    • profile image

      Annamadagan 6 years ago

      So beautiful! I would love to visit here.

    • wilfredpadilla profile image

      wilfredpadilla 6 years ago

      It is beautiful. The volunteers look happy!

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 6 years ago from Connecticut

      Living on the east coast, I have not had the pleasure of visiting the Morcom Rose Garden. The photos are beautiful, and it looks like a wonderful garden. It reminds me a lot of the Hershey Rose Garden, created by Mrs. Hershey.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      This garden looks beautiful and I can almost smell the roses through the computer screen. Sweet!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      This looks like a great place to visit, love the photos. Close to where we live is an an old "big house" that is run by the National Trust, and which has a huge walled rose garden. In June the flowers are all out in bloom and people come from all over the south of England to look. This is the subject of an upcoming lens of mine. Lenses like this with a personal connection and content are the best kind, blessed.

    • Inkhand profile image

      Inkhand 6 years ago

      Morcom Rose Garden is beautiful, and it's amazing to know that the garden is maintained by a team of volunteers from the area.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      We use to visit this Garden while only living a couple of blocks from it...Kudos to the Volunteers!

    • OzGirl LM profile image

      OzGirl LM 6 years ago

      Beautiful place, love the photo of the Cooper's hawk. I have a sister who lives in San Mateo and a brother in Petaluma. I'll need to add Morcom to my list of "places to visit" the next time I'm in California. :-)

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      Nice lens and beautiful garden to feature. Put a TOC at the top and a couple of poll modules for readers to engage in and probably a bit more detail to make it perfect. Hugs.

    • profile image

      cenabegail 6 years ago

      nice place to visit.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 6 years ago from USA

      What a lovely place to visit. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • Technospunky profile image

      Technospunky 6 years ago

      very cool

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      I can almost smell the rose perfume! I found you whilst out on a Squidangel Quest, where we had to pick a word, I chose roses, and found your beautiful page. Blessed by a passing Squid Angel

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 6 years ago

      These are wonderful photos of this "secret" place. Lived in that area years ago, don't remember knowing about it. Thank you for the intro.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 6 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Looks like a beautiful place to visit.

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is quite a formal design, like old fashioned gardens in Europe. I love roses :)