In my high school newspaper there was a regular list called Roses and Raspberries, with the roses going to good things like three-day weekends or Valentine crushes, and raspberries to things like long lunch lines and AP tests. Today I have for you only roses.



It turns out we have within walking distance of our apartment the Morcom Amphitheater of Roses, allegedly one of the top ten rose gardens in the US. It’s set on more than seven acres and was built by the WPA during the Depression, and some of its varieties are found nowhere else in the world. We took a walk there this morning, and since I didn’t bring my camera, I took photos with my phone.





“Scentimental” striped floribunda


I thought this one was “Sexy Rexy” (!) but after looking it up online, it seems not.


“Easy Does It” floribunda


Erik remarked, “Naming roses seems to be like naming show horses.” Or purebred dogs. We saw “Queen Elizabeth,” “Audrey Hepburn,” “Ingrid Bergman” (my mom has these; they’re very red), and “Pride of Oakland” (small and pink).

Not sure what this one is.


Nor this one, but it was stunning. I don’t normally like red roses but these had a beautiful hue (which hasn’t quite translated in photo) and golden hearts.


Another unusual color, such a cool white as to be almost grey.


This one was almost a mocha color.


“Carefree _____” shrub rose (the second word was scratched out)



“Fragrant Cloud” hybrid tea

Not “Fragrant Cloud,” I don’t think, but I didn’t get the name.


I haven’t written much here lately, because I’m working on a couple of projects about which I have — at the moment — nothing to say publicly. But all is well.


11 responses to “Roses

  1. Gorgeous. I want to visit here. In the ’70’s I was at teacher training college learning how to impart my love of art and it’s history, amongst other things, and a hidden secret of our college was a beautiful rose garden planted by some foresighted genius in the 30’s. In summer it was amazing. We would lay amongst the roses, smelling their scents and revising for exams. I never learned who planted that garden but it was a master stroke. There was nothing more pleasant than to read and learn amongst the flowers. I have never forgotten it.

    • That sounds absolutely idyllic. You know, I read somewhere that studying with a fragrance can aid with memory if you smell that same fragrance during the exam. 🙂 I’m fascinated with these kinds of somatic memory aids — I know I can often remember things a lot better if they’re paired with movement.

      You’ve inspired me to go read in the garden sometime. I’ll have to wait till the weather is warm enough. Right now it’s very warm if I’m moving (like walking uphill to the garden!) but chilly if I sit still.

  2. These roses are perfect and beautiful and I think they must smell heavenly! I know you must be itching to paint them.

    • Sherry, it’s a very strange thing, but I feel that Oakland has a great tolerance for non-scented roses! Not just in this garden, but around the neighborhood, there are tons of roses that are just beautiful but don’t smell like anything. I don’t understand it. But I did get to smell some nice ones today and I love that they all smell different, all definitely “rose,” but quite different.

      I am itching to paint them. I should go back sometime with my paints. I haven’t tried an outdoor painting setup in years but if it doesn’t go well I can always just sketch them and come home and add color.

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