Rose Garden 75th Anniversary Celebration Sept. 23

Berkeley Rose GardenThe City of Berkeley and Berkeley Partners for Parks invite everyone to a glorious day celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Berkeley Rose Garden, Sunday, September 23, 2012 from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm. Tours, advice on roses, garden expo, music including the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble, dance, great food, Navarro Vineyards wine garden (21 and over). For kids of all ages, juggling, games, face-painting, and balloon animals.

Before the festival, at 10 AM, Berkeley Path Wanderers lead a walk exploring the garden and its area; meet at the Rose Garden entrance, Euclid between Eunice and Bay View Place (information:

Free Opera at John Hinkel Park

From Nina Davis, comes news of two Open Opera performances of The Marriage of Figaro on July 25 and 26 at John Hinkel Park, in North Berkeley. “Charming, lighthearted and endlessly enjoyable, The Marriage of Figaro is Mozart’s most popular opera. Vivid characters, glowing wit, dizzying ensembles, mistaken identities, and carefully constructed intrigue make for a miraculous marriage of music and drama in this sublime comedy of manners as touching as it is funny. Gourmet food, great setting and grand music at John Hinkel Park – be there!”

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Australian link for John Hinkel Park

BPFP went international recently when Vicki Rostron of Australia wrote asking for information on Hinkel Park, which her great-grandfather John Hinkel donated to the city in 1918. John was a fan of the then-youthful movement of Scouting, and donated the beautiful tract in North Berkeley, with two creeks, on condition that it would remain natural and that Scouts could continue to use it. It seems that John’s son Hulbert Hinkel (John’s wife was Ada Hulbert) was a dashing pioneer aviator, the second man to do an inverted loop in an airplane. He also married five times – one bride, Dorothy Perry of Sydney, Australia, was Vicki Rostron’s grandmother. We sent Vicki background on the park along with a promise of a tour when she comes to visit. We’re looking forward to it!

Hinkel Park is one of Berkeley’s most beautiful and bucolic parks, as cultural geographer, Grey Brechin, attests: “In a lovely canyon studded with live oaks, the Civil Works Administration in 1934 built a four-acre park with an intimate Greek amphitheater, trails, and rustic clubhouse. The eater was used by the Berkeley Community Players for many years and then by the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival, though next year the festival moves to Orinda because of traffic and space problems. Today, the theater’s tree-shaded terraces seem more Druidic than Greek.” (Quoted from “Built by FDR: How the WPA Changed the Lay of the Land”:

Noted Berkeley historian, Susan Cerny remarks about the donator of the park, ” The land… was given to the city in 1918 by John Hinkel, a downtown property owner. It was reported to be the largest gift the city had ever received…Before giving the property to the city, Hinkel made some notable improvements: he built a rustic redwood clubhouse, a stone fireplace and playground, and also created the network of pathways. The park was conceived by Hinkel to be a natural space where the native flora would be retained and enhanced rather than being replaced it with artificial plantings.” It has retained that original character for the past 90 years. See her article about the (See also the photos in this article)