Morcom Rose Garden
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.
Out of the Depression...
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.
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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 reservations are available Mother's Day through October 31st
The entire outdoor facility at the Rose Garden can be reserved.
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 RequirementsÂ
Minimum of two hours for the use of the facility plus deposit.
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.