If you had previously asked, I wouldn’t have put rose gardens on the list of must visit places with my 2 year old. Or at best, it would have been very, very low on that list. But lo and behold, rose gardens have become one of our favorite spots! Let me enlighten you.
With the 60+ year old Grandmas in town, and the roses in full bloom, I thought it would be a nice gesture to take them to a rose garden or two. I knew they’d enjoy it, and I could cross another few destinations off my list. What I didn’t expect was for my toddler to enjoy it as much as he did!
During our neighborhood walks, we’d been admiring the roses (along with other types of flowers,) as well as explaining what thorns are, and why we need not touch them. He was actually a bit nervous around roses, making sure to tell me not to touch them, either. Cue the #1 reason for taking a toddler to a rose garden: they won’t touch anything! In all honesty, my son is great about understanding that we can only pick wildflowers, and the others “are for everyone to enjoy.” But the fact that he was aware of thorns and his desire NOT to be pricked made for a child who happily agreed to leave the flowers alone (at least through touch.)
In fact, his lack of touch allowed him to use his alternate senses and actually see and smell the flowers. We discussed what our favorite colors were, and invited each other over to smell some of the most potent. It was a sweet bonding moment, indeed.
As he happily strolled through the gardens, B also loved standing near the sprinklers. Upon noticing the bees surrounding the roses, he was, again, happy to be an observer. As he likes me to do with so many things (both real and inanimate objects,) I “made the bee talk” and carried on a lovely conversation with my dear boy.
We visited both the Berkeley Rose Garden and Oakland’s Morcom Rose Garden. The flowers were magnificent at both; but the Morcom Rose Garden was the winner by far. A few things to note: Both rose gardens are in predominantly residential areas, and both are FREE (woot, woot!) Both only have street parking available, although not hard to find at either location. The Morcom Rose Garden is much larger, plus has a beautiful reflecting pool and fountain cascade. The Berkeley Rose Garden also had a creek running below, but the stairs leading to it were uneven and in need of repair. In fact, there was quite a bit of construction going on in and around the Berkeley Rose Garden during our visit, taking away a bit of the loveliness and serenity.
My son and I still take weekly walks, and more often than not come across a stunning display of roses that strikes a sweet conversation between mother and son. This seems fitting, as the rose is a flower of love, and I couldn’t love anyone more than I love my curious, precocious, charming, kind boy!
Berkeley Rose Garden – 200 Euclid Ave, Berkeley, CA
Morcom Rose Garden – 700 Jean St, Oakland, CA