ROSE SUNDAYS

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 Oakland, CA April 26, 1936 - The third annual Rose Sunday was observed by 20,000 people a
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Oakland Tribune - Mon - May 29, 1935

Oakland Tribune - Sun - May 10, 1964:

THE FIRST Rose Sunday was held May 13, 1934 under the joint sponsorship of the Oakland Junior Chamber of Commerce and Oakland Park Directors. At this ceremony a committee headed by the late Harold C. Holmes Jr. presented to the City of Oakland on behalf of the Businessmen's Garden Club, East Bay Rose Society, and Park Directors, a plaque which continues to mark the entrance to what has since become the Morcom Amphitheater of Roses. That's the official name now. But in the beginning, it was the Oakland Municipal Rose Garden, Linda Vista Park. It contains eight acres and is located on Jean Street just west of Grand Avenue a short distance from the Grand Avenue business district. The land was purchased by the City of Oakland in 1915 from J. P. Gafliardo. On May 9, 1954, the 20th anniversary of the Rose Garden, the Rose Garden was dedicated to Mayor Fred N. Morcom (1931-33) during whose term the creation and development of the garden took place. But it wasn't until 1960 that the beautiful garden was named for Mayor Morcom. It was in that year that it was named the Morcom Amphitheater of Roses, and the name Oakland Municipal Rose Garden was discarded. More than 8,000 rose bushes are now included, including 400 varieties of roses. Arthur Cobbledick, its designer, was the son of Col. James Cobbledick, a pioneer member and co-founder of the Oakland Businessmen's Garden Club.

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Oakland Tribune - Mon - May 2, 1938

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Oakland Tribune - Mon - May 2, 1938

Oakland Tribune - Sun - May 9, 1971

Promise in a Rose Garden

Today may be Mother’s Day for everyone else — but it’s Rose Sunday for Oaklanders who love this longtime favorite among all flowers.

 

In a tradition stretching back 37 years, gardeners in this city have been congregating in the Morcom Amphitheater of Roses on the second Sunday of each May to reveal in one of the world’s most profligate displays of floral beauty.

To them, it’s merely a happy coincidence that a lot of other people come to the same place at the same time to salute Oakland’s latest Mother of the Year. In fact, they'll probably join once more in the program at 2 p.m. today in the world-famed garden with every evidence of good will and sincerity.

 

But ‘way down deep, their biggest thrill comes from the Rose Sunday eruption of color and fragrance in a garden that European experts have called ‘‘the world’s most beautiful municipal rose garden.”

And well it might so come. Mother Nature and men have combined their efforts to provide a setting for this horticultural show. In an eight-acre natural amphitheater just a block off Grand Avenue, the sun pours in at just the right angle and for the optimum length of time in the finest seasonal pattern. Here the Oakland Parks and Recreation gardening crews, working with the counsel and aid. of some of America’s ‘most knowledgeable rose growers, have established 8,000 rose bushes of more than 400 varieties.

 

This is the spot selected over the United Nations garden in New York City last year by the All America Rose Selections of the AARS — and it is filled with plants patented in all sections of the country, according to George Shiraki, head rosarian in the garden for Parks and Recreation.

 

He explained that the actual plants are supplied by growers from local areas, just as they have always been. The plants are donated in a cooperative setup that benefits the garden, the commercial growers, and— most of all — the public. And this means that the spectacular array of plants is provided and replenished at no initial cost to the city.

Working under controlled conditions, Shiraki and his skilled staff of three keep accurate records of the adaptability of roses from many distant areas to our own local growing conditions. And they make all their findings available to local gardeners at any time, thus continually upgrading the quality of home gardens in the Bay Area.

Designer of the garden was Arthur Cobbledick, a well known Oakland landscape architect whose father, Col. James M. Cobbledick Sr., was a prime mover in the Businessmen’s Garden Club and in the California Spring Garden and Home Show.

After William Penn Mott Jr. became Oakland’s Superintendent of Parks in 1946, he partially revised and completed the original plan. But basically the garden remains as Cobbledick conceived it, with a geometrically precise Florentine effect in the main area, leading down what is now called the Mothers’ Walk to a handsome reflecting pool at the bottom of a cascade which rises at the side to an exquisite floribunda garden at an upper level.

On the hillside above the main garden lies the semi-circular Pioneer Walk, where plantings of Peace and Lillbet Roses commemorate the cavalcade of Oakland’s and California’s history from 1848 to the present.

 

Long, graceful stone stairways descend to the garden from the upper side on Oakland Avenue. And the hillside shouldering gently into the floribunda garden from both sides offers a notable complementary horticultural feature — a planting of trees from so many parts of the globe that it has been dubbed ‘The United Nations of the Plant World.”

 

This is the spot that 40 rosarians from New Zealand, attending the national ARS convention in San Francisco this week, have specified that they want to see because they’ve heard so much about it at the other end of the earth. It’s right here for all of us to see and enjoy all the time — and it’s free. It should be a ‘‘must for every Bay Area resident.

 

Today is Rose Sunday, the climax of Rose Week in Oakland.

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Oakland Tribune - Mon - May 2, 1938

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Oakland Tribune - Thu - May 11, 1939

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Mothers of the Year

The Oakland Mother of the Year Award is given annually to honor people in the community who "symbolize the finest traditions of 'motherhood'." The award was begun by the Oakland Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1954. It is sponsored by the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department, and a plaque with the winner's name is placed on a special walkway in the Morcom Rose Garden. A list of al mothers can be listed here at localwiki.org.

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