HIDDEN PARADISE IN OAKLAND

 

The 3-acre roof garden at Oakland's Kaiser Center was the first major privately owned Roof Garden in the United States. In fact, when the visionary creator Cut the ribbon in 1960, it was the largest Roof Garden in the world.

 

This internationally acclaimed and renowned garden set the stage for green roofs, and has inspired the proliferation of roof gardens across the planet.

 

The idea of the garden was conceived by Edgar Kaiser Sr., the head of Kaiser and son of Henry J. Kaiser, the shipbuilding genius of World War II. Edgar Kaiser decided to make this roof a semi-public park, owned and maintained by Kaiser, but open to the public.

 

The garden features forty-two specimens of trees (olive, holly oak, Japanese maple and southern magnolia). As far as shrub species, camellias, roses, rhaphiolepis and 9 different varieties of hedges can be found in the garden. Up to recently, 300 roses were spread over the garden. The majority of them are the 1960 AARS medal winning Floribunda "Sarabande", a variety becoming increasingly difficult to find commercially.

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