Santa Rosa has always been one of those interestingly remote places for me. I grew up just an hour away from it, but it always felt as distant as places three or four hours away, as if it were more suited to a long weekend trip than a quick visit. Where I live now is […]
There’s a certain sense of environmentalism that comes with living in Berkeley. It’s not necessarily politicized—in fact, it usually runs deeper than politics—but nevertheless it shapes the landscapes and spirit of the city. You could create a bingo card based on the kind of gardens you’ll see as you walk down the street: the low-water garden, the native plants garden, the butterfly garden, the vegetable garden, the garden full of medicinal herbs…
Larger swaths of green lend their splash of vibrancy to the city’s portrait. The rose garden is for some reason relatively unused. Unless you visit on a sunny weekend afternoon, you’re likely as not to have the place almost to yourself, and to be able to wander uninterrupted amongst the hundreds of rose varieties with only your thoughts and their fragrance for company.
The botanical gardens, partway up the hills, usher you out of the civilized magic of the rose garden and into a tangled, wild place where you can marvel at rare plants from around the world. The redwood grove, just across the street, evokes the deepest and most ancient sense of wonder. When the thick fog veils the tops of the trees and makes even the softest footfall heavy with sound, it’s easy to imagine yourself in another place—even another world. The spell, of course, is broken when the amphitheater in the woods has been rented out for a children’s play.
Tilden Regional Park is perhaps the most noteworthy green space in Berkeley. Like the city itself, it isn’t always entirely sure what it wants to be, so it tries to be everything: a playground for families, a haven for wildlife, a wilderness to explore, and an educational resource.