Monday, August 24, 2020

MORCOM ROSE GARDEN, Oakland, CA: A Refreshing Retreat

Oakland Municipal rose Garden, Oakland, CA
Tucked into a wooded glen in a residential neighborhood of Oakland, California, the Morcom Rose Garden is a refreshing retreat.  Built in the 1932 as a project of the WPA (Works Progress Administration), it features formal gardens, a pool and fountain, winding paths, and a walkway honoring the Mother of the Year.  (The ceremony is held each year on Mother’s Day and honors a woman who has contributed to the community.)
On a recent visit to Oakland, I visited the garden, a welcome escape from staying at home during the pandemic. It was midsummer, and everything was in bloom.
As I wandered among the flowers, I felt like I had traveled back in time, when life moved at a slower pace.  Indeed, the garden appears used mainly by local residents.  I saw people walking dogs and babies, sitting on benches drinking coffee and reading the newspaper, or just strolling along the flower beds. (Because of the pandemic, all wearing masks.)  It was calm and peaceful, hidden from the noise of the surrounding city. 
The garden is dedicated to Fred Morcom, Mayor of Oakland 1931-1933, during which time the Rose Garden was conceived and created.
A large rock near the entrance to the garden, erected on the garden's 20th anniversary, has a plaque honoring Fred Morcom and is inscribed with the following poem.
Roses are beauty but I never see
Those blood drops from the burning heart of June
Glowing like thought upon the living tree
Without a pity that they die so soon.
                 John Masefield 

The garden is maintained by the Friends of the Morcom Rose Garden.  At their Facebook site you can see photos of hundreds of gorgeous roses and activities in the garden.
The main entrance to the Rose Garden is located at 700 Jean St., Oakland, CA 94610, two short blocks from Grand Avenue.


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