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Planting A Native Bee Garden

With Native Bee Specialist Celeste Ets-Hokin
Early spring is the right time to rejuvenate or plant for a soon to be blooming, fragrant and buzzing native bee garden. A premier example of plant selection and pairing can be seen in the new native bee garden overseen by native bee specialist Celeste Ets-Hokin. The bee garden is located in the Pollinator Garden (across from the Edible Demonstration Gardens –look for the Pollinator signs).

“A good bee garden should include a mix of pollen- and nectar-rich annuals and perennials, offering flowers of different colors, sizes, shapes and bloom periods.  And of course you’ll want to make sure that at least some of these plants are California natives.  Native plants are generally four times more attractive than exotic varieties to our native bees,” says Celeste.

To give you a head start, here’s a look at some of the perennials and annuals she’s introduced to the bee garden. Then to learn more about native bees and the creation of their glorious garden in the Gardens at Lake merritt, be sure to read the following article by Celeste, “The BEE-UTIFUL Gardens at Lake Merritt:  We Built It and They Came!”

The Gardens at Lake Merritt

The Green Heart of Oakland

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 […]

August Garden Events and Gardening Tips

August Special Events
Wild Oakland  Free Guided Pollinator Walk in the Gardens Saturday, August 10, noon-2:00. Learn what is happening in the plant and pollinator world of Oakland… like the construction of our new bee hotel!

The walk and talk will be led by Tora Rocha, Park Supervisor for the City of Oakland and founder of the Pollinator Posse, a […]

July Garden Events and Gardening Tips

July Special Events
Golden Gate Lily Society Show and Sale, Saturday and Sunday, July 13-14, noon-5pm, in the Lakeside Park Garden Center. Free admission.

Sydney Mitchell Iris Society Sale, Friday, July 26, 7:30pm in the Lakeside Park Garden Center. Free admission.

Managing Pests in Your Garden Safely, Saturday, July 27, noon-1pm: Want to learn more about what is […]

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 […]

June Garden Events and Gardening Tips

June Special Events
Love Our Lake Day, Sunday, June 9 from 11am to 4pm at Lake Merritt, Lakeside Park and in the surrounding Oakland neighborhoods. Oaklanders and visitors alike are invited to come play in the car-free streets & parks surrounding Lake Merritt and celebrate the area’s transformation through Measure DD!

We are expecting many visitors to the Gardens […]

May Garden Events and Gardening Tips

May Special Events
SPRING ROSE SHOW! Sunday, May 5, from 1-5pm, at the Lakeside Park Garden Center. Free to the public. Themed “Fairy Tales,” The East Bay Rose Society’s 66th Annual Spring Flower Show is designed to be fun for the whole family. Roses will be displayed by Society members, along with donations from Oakland’s very own jewel, the […]

April Garden Events and Gardening Tips

April Special Events

American Rhododendron Society Show and Plant Sale- April 20-21, Noon to 4 p.m., April 20; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 21 at  the Lakeside Park Garden Center. Many fragrant rhododendrons for sale including tropical vireyas.  Don’t miss the colorful display of species and hybrids. Educational exhibit and raffle prizes. Free to the public.

Earth […]

City of Oakland Partners with Community Organizations to Demonstrate Urban Edible Gardening Techniques in The Gardens at Lake Merritt

Growing organic produce is an enriching and dynamic process offering innumerable benefits to individuals and the community. Oakland’s Office of Parks and Recreation is underscoring these benefits with a new demonstration program at its Lakeside Park Demonstration Garden located in the Gardens at Lake Merritt.

Community organizations bring expertise to these demonstration plots with missions including: […]

Mediterranean Blues

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.  […]