The building of the 3.54 acre garden was sponsored by the federal government to provide employment during the Depression. The main section of the rose garden is designed like an amphitheater, with wide stone terraces facing magnificent views of San Francisco Bay. A semicircular redwood pergola, which extends the full width of the amphitheater, provides not only visual definition to the site but a structure for climbing roses and shaded benches. The planting of 2,500 rose bushes was planned by the East Bay Counties Rose Society under the supervision of Charles V. Covell. The roses were arranged one color per terrace, from shades of red at the top through bronze and pink to yellow and white at the bottom. The garden contains many steep slopes and steps.
The garden is a living museum of California native plants located within Tilden Park in the hills above Berkeley, California. It is a 10 acre sanctuary for thousands of the states rare and endangered plants in many habitats from the High Sierra to the serpentine barrens of the Coast Ranges, and from the northern rain forests to the southern deserts. Most plants are identified with labels. Flowers bloom every month of the year, reaching a spectacular peak in spring through midsummer. In the fall and winter, the garden is decorated with the vibrant hues of ripening fruits, changing leaves, and colorful twigs.
The UC garden features one of the most diverse plant collections in the United States. Established in 1890, the garden has 34 acres containing over 12,000 different kinds of plants from all over the world arranged by region.