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Help Save the Rose Garden | Friends of the Morcom Rose Garden

Help Save the Rose Garden

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For immediate release:
Updated September 7, 2009

Press Contact: Jo Ann Driscoll
Office: 510-749-0750
Cell: 459-8144

NEW EFFORT TO ENLIST COMMUNITY TO HELP SAVE OAKLAND’S FAMED MORCOM ROSE GARDEN

JOIN THE DEDICATED DEADHEADERS

“FROM WOODSTOCK TO ROOTSTOCK”
SPECIAL COMMUNITY WORK DAY
AND POST-EVENT PARTY

Saturday, September 12, 2009
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

(Oakland , CA ) “When it comes to protecting public gardens, it’s always worth it,” says Tora Rocha, a City of Oakland gardener who has cared for Oakland ’s acclaimed Morcom Rose Garden, located at 700 Jean Street in the Grand/Lakeshore area, for many years.
Rocha, along with community organizers, local merchants, rose enthusiasts and neighbors, with help from Councilmember Pat Kernighan’s office, is spearheading a special workday designed to recruit and train community volunteers to care for the famed garden, which is in serious trouble due to budget cutbacks in Oakland’s Public Works Agency.
The event will be held on Saturday, September 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers will weed, mulch and deliver organic fertilizer to the roses. Prospects for a special new level of master volunteer will be recruited and asked to join a new volunteer organization – the “Dedicated Deadheaders.”
Deadheaders will be trained to remove spent blooms which make for a healthy garden and beautiful, prolific plants. Upon completion of two free workshops on pruning and caring for roses, the Deadheaders will be able wear a tie-dyed vest and work independently in the Morcom garden. The tie-dyed vests have been designed and sewn by local volunteers.
The post-event party will kick off a new organization – Friends of the Morcom Rose Garden and introduce a new interactive website aimed at making it easy for volunteers to plan and organize their work. The new Friends of the Morcom Rose Garden operates under the non-profit umbrella of Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation.
“The goal is to create ‘community around the garden,’ along with acquiring a core group of volunteers who will be trained to be master pruners – people who know what they’re doing, and who can keep the garden blooming,” said Rocha. “There are 3,500 rose bushes and the Dedicated Deadheaders will play a crucial role in caring for this award-winning, certified garden. Unlike a park, a garden must be tended,” she said.
“Years ago the Morcom Rose Garden was cared for by a staff of five, then staff was cut to two and now there is no dedicated staff at the rose garden. Rocha added. After the cutbacks, the remaining gardeners are responsible for nearly 200 parks, 300 medians, and the Morcom Rose Garden.
Making the effort to save the garden even more crucial is the fact that the Morcom Rose Garden received coveted accreditation as a public garden in 2008 from the All American Rose Selection (AARS). This 70-year old non-profit organization runs horticultural testing and award programs. Some of the newest and most coveted roses, which can perform in many soil and sun conditions in the country, are displayed at the Morcom Rose Garden. This newly-won accreditation might be pulled if the Morcom Rose Garden is not properly maintained.
Local merchants, neighbors, church groups and rose lovers from throughout the East Bay are pledging support to get a substantial volunteer program off the ground. Supporters include Galleria Scola, Queen, Grand Tavern, Seventeenth Street Studios, Tech Liminal, Driscoll Public Relations, Councilmember Pat Kernighan, Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation, Grand Lake Grime Busters, local NCPC groups, East Bay Children’s Book Project, Grand Avenue Merchants, Berkeley Rose School and many individual volunteers.
The post-work day party will take place at the Grand Tavern, 3601 Grand Ave from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. , sponsored in part by Grand Tavern and Galleria Scola.
For more information on the September 12, 2009 special work day at Morcom Rose Garden, please visit the website: www.friendsofoaklandrose.org.

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NOTE: “The Dedicated Deadheaders name stems from the confusion that was generated in some minds by discussions about one of the primary tasks at the Rose Garden–cutting off the dead blooms which is technically called ‘Deadheading.’” – via Splash Pad Newsletter 8/2709