About Us

Discover a Hidden Jewel in the City of Oakland, California

The Gardens at Lake Merritt, a seven-acre collection of themed gardens, is conveniently located in the heart of Oakland at Lakeside Park, our nation’s first wildlife refuge.

Established more than a half-century ago, the Gardens serve as a source of great regional pride, a cultural and educational center and a place to enjoy tranquility in the heart of the city. The Gardens are poised to serve as an example of the highest standards of horticulture and historic preservation while providing enriching public programs.

The Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt (FGLM)

The Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt (FGLM) was formed in 2004. In partnership with the City of Oakland, FGLM supports garden revitalization through volunteerism, funding and special projects, ensuring these gardens remain a vibrant, relevant part of urban life.

The Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt hosts the Autumn Lights Festival, a now perennial event which each October unites Oakland’s horticultural, arts and music communities to delight and amaze attendees, and to raise funds to sustain the Gardens’ facilities and the Friends’ programs.

A Garden iS A Community

You can see the results of FGLM volunteer efforts in the Mediterranean and Sensory Gardens, the “Google” Succulent Gardens, and the various Pollinator Gardens, including Lu’s Memorial Garden, in the new Mediterranean and Sensory Gardens, along with growing participation and sponsorship of educational and festive public events.

Adhering to the Gardens’ traditional status as a demonstration garden, the Gardens at Lake Merritt currently is home to the Pollinator Posse which raises awareness about the irreplaceable role pollinators play in urban gardening, as well as a “Bee Hotel” for native apian species and an exhibit which spotlights cutting-edge resource-preserving water feature filtration.