The Gardens at Lake Merritt

February in the Gardens

Tucked in a back corner of The Gardens at Lake Merritt, under a special wooden shelter, we have the largest outdoor collection of Vireyas in the continental United States. They have just burst into bloom. Come visit soon, and prepared to be stunned!

Vireyas are a special kind of tropical rhododendron native to islands between Asia and Australia, and they flower throughout the year in coastal California.

They love a frost-free environment. So, we house them in a special sheltered environment in The Gardens at Lake Merritt, in the back of the garden near the citrus grove and the succulent garden. We highlight locally produced hybrids, and selected plants from areas generally unavailable to botanists.

Numbering over 300 species, Vireyas can be found in the wild growing across much of SE Asia, principally in New Guinea, Borneo, Sumatra and the Philippines. Although these are tropical regions, the plants grow mostly in the cool mountainous areas, either as epiphytes in the tall trees of the cloud forest, or in open ground as shrubs. These low altitude vireyas are idea for our Oakland climate. As anyone who has visited the San Francisco Arboretum (http://www.sfbotanicalgarden.org/) Cloud Forest area knows, the Bay is most hospitable to these beautiful plants. For a history of how our garden developed under the careful hand of Bill Moyles, read this: See:http://www.vireya.net/index.html

The beauty of the vireya has long attracted hybridizers and many excellent cultivars have been developed.

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January in the Gardens

Our buttons are going to pop off, we are so proud of being on the cover of the Oakland Museum of California’s newest issue of its member magazine. Inside Out features our Bee Hotel at the Gardens at Lake Merritt on the cover. This languid summer image really captures the feel of our gardens! The issue, which is all about how to enjoy and share the city’s treasures, includes a story on the new exhibition Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact, which opens to the public January 31. Photo: Greg Linhares, City of Oakland. Courtesy of Oakland Museum of California. — at Gardens At Lake Merritt.

Our buttons are going to pop off, we are so proud of being on the cover of the Oakland Museum of California's newest member magazine. Inside Out features our Bee Hotel at the Gardens at Lake Merritt on the cover. This languid summer image really captures the feel of our gardens! The issue, which is all about how to enjoy and share the city's treasures, includes a story on the new exhibition Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact, which opens to the public January 31. Photo: Greg Linhares, City of Oakland. Courtesy of Oakland Museum of California. — at Gardens At Lake Merritt.

Our buttons are going to pop off, we are so proud of being on the cover of the Oakland Museum of California’s newest member magazine. Inside Out features our Bee Hotel at the Gardens at Lake Merritt on the cover. This languid summer image really captures the feel of our gardens! The issue, which is all about how to enjoy and share the city’s treasures, includes a story on the new exhibition Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact, which opens to the public January 31.
Photo: Greg Linhares, City of Oakland. Courtesy of Oakland Museum of California. — at Gardens At Lake Merritt.

OMCA takes a look at the wildly diverse and intricate world of one of the most important creatures to human agriculture and the natural environment. Through family-friendly experiences, hands-on activities, and media, Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact touches on topics of honeybees and Bay Area beekeeping, the diversity of California native bee species, citizen science projects, and the similarities between bees and humans. Discover real bee specimens under a microscope, crawl through a human-sized beehive, and try on a beekeeper suit. The exhibition continues outside of the Gallery: get involved with citizen science organizations, check out bee hotels installed in the OMCA gardens, and take home guides on planting a bee-friendly garden and building bee hotels for your own garden. In an immersive gallery environment, explore the causes of bee population decline, learn about the significance of bees to California’s economy and ecosystems, and discover how simple but powerful actions by Californians can help bees to survive in a changing world.
Check us out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see lots of current updates on what’s going on in the garden. Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/gardensatlakemerritt?ref=tn_tnmn

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NOTE: You'll be making a secure tax-deductible donation through Square Market to the Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt's fiscal agent "Oakland-East Bay Garden Center Inc."