The Green Heart of Oakland for Fifty Years

Discover the hidden jewel in the city of Oakland,
a seven-acre collection of themed gardens.

The Gardens are open daily:
9am - 5:30pm
Entry is free!

666 Bellevue Ave, Oakland, California
Read more about the gardens...
View map, directions, and parking info...

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NEW Volunteer Positions available!

Click below to learn more about these exciting opportunities and to apply!

Volunteer Ambassador
Volunteer Coordinator
Garden Docent Coordinator
Marketing and Social Media Coordinator

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NOTE: You'll be making a secure tax-deductible donation through the website "Causes" to the Friends' fiscal agent "Oakland East Bay Garden Center Inc." Your donation will be under the campaign "Support the Gardens at Lake Merritt". The Causes site permits donors to share news about their giving on Facebook, but you needn't be a Facebook user, or even logged into Facebook to use the form. You can make the donation anonymously, if you wish!

News & Events - Apr 4, 2014 15:03 - 1 Comment

Alameda County Master Gardeners Workshops 2014

There will be FREE Saturday Workshops in the Trials Garden this season by the Alameda County Master Gardeners and we hope you can attend. The workshops all start at noon and end at 1pm (unless otherwise indicated) and attendees are asked to please bring a portable or folding chair if possible. See the schedule below:

April 26: Gardening 101: Get Your Hands Dirty *(90 minute workshop: 12:00-1:30)

Join us at this hands-on workshop for beginning and limited-experience gardeners. You will plant seeds, transplant seedlings, work with compost and soil in preparation for planting in the ground or a container, and learn how to plan your garden space. There will be handouts on seed starting, composting, planting recommendations and more. There will be time for questions so you learn what you need to know to get off to a successful start.

Master Gardeners Sam Foushee and David Blood, co-coordinators of the Lake Merritt Trials Garden, will lead a team of experienced Master Gardeners to guide you through the basics.


May 10: Growing Great Summer Vegetables

May is a good time to get your summer vegetables into the ground. This talk will build upon what was learned in Gardening 101 last month but focusing more on what varieties work best in our climate and when and how to plant.  Big spaces or small, containers or in the ground, you will learn which vegetables should provide a bountiful yield this summer.

Master Gardener Ann Naffziger has created a “food forest” in her Alameda front and back yards. She grows everything from apples and asparagus to dried beans and zucchini. She’s got bees and chickens too!


June 14: Edible Landscaping: Making it Beautiful and Delicious

Edible Landscaping is about adding attractive food crops into the design of your existing or new landscape. We will discuss herbs, edible flowers, fruit and nut trees, and vegetables that can be grown among ornamental plantings in your yard or in containers. Whether your space is large or small, shaded or in full sun, cement, a staircase, window box or fertile ground, growing edibles can immediately become part of your landscaped environment.

Master Gardeners Jennifer Cardozo, Nancy Litton and Kitty Mindel were all trained in how to create a  successful edible landscape and will share what they have learned with you.


July 12: Managing Pests in your Garden Safely

Want to learn more about what is eating your vegetables? Or what virus killed your tomato plants? And where to find out more when you do have a pest problem in your yard? This is the talk for you. Dennis will help you learn how to identify your bugs and manage them in the least toxic manner. Bring leaf & bug samples!

Master Gardener Dennis Brown will help you see your way through aphids, ants, snails and slugs as you learn about common pests and diseases.


August 9: Planning and Planting a Great Winter Vegetable Garden

Why should you consider growing vegetables in the fall and winter? Learn about the benefits and the wide array of vegetables you can grow in the cooler months. Learn what you need to know to be successful.

Master Gardener Sam Foushee grows beautiful vegetables during all seasons in 2 local community gardens.


Sept. 13: Fall Gardening in the Garden: cover crops, mulching, planting and more

Tips for how to put your garden to bed for winter: cleanup, composting, feeding, planting, etc. Learn how to plant and integrate a cover crop. Both vegetable and perennial gardens benefit from these practices.

Master Gardener David Blood will share knowledge gained from years of careful winter preparation in his home garden in Oakland as well as in the community gardens he has tended.

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Mediterranean - Feb 13, 2013 6:30 - 5 Comments

Sheet Mulching Magic

Article by Tricia Christopher, Landscape Architect and Designer of the Mediterranean and Sensory Gardens

Weeds…. they can be overwhelming this time of year due to spring rains and warming weather. Don’t despair! You can win the battle of the weeds without resorting to deadly chemicals or furious digging and yanking. A weed-fighting method called “sheet mulching” works in harmony with nature; weeds disappear while soil improves at the same time.

How does it work? The weeds are literally smothered and not allowed to see the light of day. Layers of compostable materials (such as newspaper or cardboard, compost and wood chips) are piled on top of the weeds. Then the naturally occurring microorganisms and worms in the soil below do the magical job decomposing the weeds.

With time, the mulch layers break down and provide organic material and nutrients to the soil. Thus, sheet mulching not only gets rid of weeds, it also improves the soil fertility and helps a happy community of earthworms keep the soil aerated.

In contrast, digging out weeds disrupts the soil’s natural ecosystem and destroys earthworm tunnels. Spraying with herbicides adds environmentally questionable chemicals to the garden. Sheet mulching works with nature rather than against it.  Read more…

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Sensory - Jun 30, 2013 15:50 - 2 Comments

Lavender For All Your Senses

Article by Tricia Christopher, Landscape Architect and Designer of the Mediterranean and Sensory Gardens

Lavenders are featured prominently in the Sensory Garden, with their own “Lavender Hill” in the center of the garden. Here, drifts of several lavender varieties in beautiful shades of blues, purples and whites provide distinctive herbal fragrance.

Lavender is known for it’s ability to reduce stress and induce relaxation, and this effect is apparent when strolling through the Sensory Garden this time of year. Combined with the hum of bees and trickle of water from the nearby fountain bowl, the wafting lavender scents calm and refresh. 

Lavenders prefer sunny, dry conditions, and require good drainage. Amending the soil and planting on a mound will help with drainage issues. They also look much better with an annual heavy pruning after flowering. Lavenders may develop dead branches after a few years, and it is usually best to replace rather than attempt to “save” them. Read more…

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