Berkely Rose Garden sign
The Berkeley Municipal Rose Garden of Berkely, California, is situated on a west-southwest-facing slope between residential neighborhoods. The garden location is a canyon, which was named El Valle de Los Codornices (Valley of the Quails) by Don Jose Domingo Peralta in the 1840s [1]. The name of the adjacent Codornices Park still relates to the quail theme. In 1995 the Rose Garden was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark [1].

The terraced architecture gives the garden an amphitheater-like shape—a theater from which to overlook San Francicsco Bay, although some of the original views have now been taken away by tall trees. A perimeter fence around the garden was erected in the late 1990s to protect its plants from hungry deer [2].

A plaque at the entrance details the history of the garden, which was designed between 1933 and 1937 by landscape architect Vernon M. Dean:

“The Rose Garden was a joint creation of the City of Berkeley and the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA), whose public works projects provided employment during the Depression. Vernon M. Dean, the City's landscape architect, designed the garden in a rustic style, with a redwood pergola and semicircular stone-walled terraces facing San Francisco Bay. Hundreds of tons of native rock were quarried in the Berkeley hills to construct the terraces. The garden was sculpted into the hillsides west of the Euclid Avenue streetcar line that crossed the canyon of Codornices Creek on a trestle. More than 2,500 rose bushes were selected by the East Bay Counties Rose Society led by Charles V. Cowell. The planting arrangement emphasized one color per terrace, starting with red at the top and descending through bronze, pink, and yellow to white at the bottom.
The entry overlooking the garden was redesigned by architect Helene Vilett in 1996 and rebuilt with community donations and funds from the City.”
Berkeley Historical Plaque Project, 1998.

Westerland Rose with flowers in clusters


Color-changing Flutterbye Rose

The garden is said to be found in its most spectacular state in mid-May, when a Rose Day Celebration is held on Mother's Day [2]. About 250 varieties of roses can be admired. Some roses are in constant bloom all summer, while the flowers of others open and mature during shorter blooming seasons. The ornamental roses displayed in the garden include hybrids, of which flowers are shown on this page: the brilliant salmon-orange Westerland Rose, the Flutterbye Rose with red-to-orange buds and bright yellow open flowers and the climbing Buff Beauty, opening up in apricot color and fading to a soft yellow and white.

Buff Beauty

Buff Beauty growing five
feet hight at pergola

Getting there
The garden entrance is located in northeast Berkeley at 1200 Euclid Avenue across from Codornices Park. From the intersection of University Ave and Shattuck Ave, get onto Hearst Ave two blocks north. Drive east (uphill) on Hearst Ave and turn right onto Euclid Ave. After about half a mile, between Bayview Pl. and Eunice St. (zoom in on map [3]), you'll see the Berkeley Rose Garden sign (shown above) to your left. No off-street parking is available; but parking lots with time limitation can be found on Euclid Ave between the Rose Garden and Codornices Park.
Various walking and biking options through garden-tailored neighborhoods can be explored by getting there from the Berkeley BART Station (about one mile southwest from the Rose Garden) and from University of California campus sites.

References and more

[1] Berkeley Landmarks: Municipal Rose Garden [].
[2] City of Berkeley: Berkeley Rose Garden [].
[3] CitySearch: Berkeley Rose Garden Map [].

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