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Roses! History of the Berkeley Rose Garden and How to Care for and Prune Roses

  • Albany Community Center 1249 Marin Avenue Albany, CA, 94706 United States (map)

Roger Kublaek, Berkeley Rose Garden Rosarian, writes the following in his linkedin profile:

"My passion for ecological farming guided me down the collegiate path of Plant Biology.  Through my studies, I focused on biotechnology and plant breeding and was the first graduate of this fantastic program at theUniversity of Nebraska, Lincoln. Soon after, Imoved to the Bay Area of California and have been working in organic agriculture ever since.I've continued learning formally as well as through work experience and consider myself well rounded in agri-sciences, small farm and commercial food operations, and ecological education. I love putting the pieces together from the soil and seed to the consumer's plate.  There is nothing more simple and simultaneously complex than the act of eating."

The Berkeley Rose Garden was one of the first Civil Works Progress Projects built under the Works Progress Administration (WPA). It was conceived in 1933 and completed and dedicated for public use in September 1937. East Bay rose societies and community members donated hundreds of hours of volunteer time. The terraced amphitheatre and 220-foot-long redwood pergola were suggested by architect Bernard Maybeck; the final design and execution were the work of landscape architect Vernon M. Dean and rose specialist C. V. Covell.

For many years, the Parks Department held Rose Week activities in the garden each May, with a Rose Day Celebration on Mother’s Day (the Mother’s Day event was resurrected in 2001 as a joint project of the City of Berkeley and the Friends of the Berkeley Rose Garden). Traditionally, the annual winners of the All-American Rose Society were planted at the garden; other rose varieties were supplied by growers from all over the world.

The Friends of the Berkeley Rose Garden has been very active over the past decade in restoring key historical features and improving accessibility to the garden. Working in partnership with City gardeners, the Friends continue to play a key role in improvements to the garden. The construction of a new entry and overlook on Euclid Avenue sparked new interest in the park. In response to the growing depletion of roses by hungry deer, a perimeter fence was erected in the late 1990s.

The Berkeley Rose Garden is considered by many to be the finest rose garden in northern California. The roses are pruned in January in preparation for mid-May, when the garden is in its most spectacular state.

Earlier Event: December 12
Holiday Luncheon
Later Event: February 20
All About Orchids