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Beauty in the Mediterranean Garden

Beauty in the Mediterranean Garden

Welcome to The Vireya Garden

Vireya Garden
Tucked in a back corner of the garden, under a special wooden shelter, we have the largest outdoor collection of Vireyas in the continental United States. 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 vireos are idea for our Oakland climate. As anyone who has visited the San Francisco Botanical Garden’s Cloud Forest area knows, the Bay is most hospitable to these beautiful plants.

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


Welcome to The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden – This Japanese-style Garden was designed by Hisaichi Tsugawa and built principally by members of the Japanese-American community of Oakland and the East Bay. It was dedicated in 1960.

Since 1985 the Merritt College Aesthetic Pruning Club has been responsible for the restoration and maintenance of this garden, in cooperation with the City […]

Welcome to The Bonsai Garden

The Golden State Bonsai Federation Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt is the home to some of the  finest bonsai on the West Coast and is Northern California’s only public bonsai collection. The  Garden, built by volunteers, is staffed and maintained by volunteers and supported entirely by  donations.
Bonsai Garden Hours:
Tuesday-Friday, 11am-3pm
Saturday, 10am-4pm
Sunday, noon-4pm
ADMISSION is free but […]

Welcome to The Torii Gate


The Torii is a traditional Japanese gate commonly found at the entry to a Shinto shrine and marks the entrance to a sacred space. The original Torii Gate was a gift to the City of Oakland in 1969 from the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Fukuoka, Japan, Oakland’s sister city. The gate was rebuilt in […]

Bay-Friendly Gardening

Bay-Friendly Gardening mimics natural systems, which recycle everything—water, debris, and nutrients—endlessly. It pays attention to climate and local conditions and uses appropriate plants that are adapted to those conditions. It follows maintenance practices that support the goals of conserving resources and reducing waste.

Bay-Friendly gardens aren’t a mold you have to fit into—they offer endless opportunities, […]

Welcome to The Sensory Garden

The Sensory Garden at Lakeside Park has been redesigned to utilize drought tolerant Mediterranean and native plants that  provide fragrance, sound and color for the senses. The garden is organized to offer the visitor a succession of experiences. […]

Welcome to The Lakeside Palmetum

The Lakeside Palmetum – Considered the most extensive established collection of cool Mediterranean and high altitude tropical palms in the United States, the Palmetum features a great variety of palm species native to cool and warm Mediterranean climates and tropical high altitude regions of Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Americas. Oakland’s unique subtropical microclimate […]

Garden Event on June 6th, Save the day

We are having a Garden Event again this year. There will be talks and and several music groups, musicians and an a choir performing. Save the date Sunday June 6th.  More details will follow

Mediterranean Garden Workday, March 6th 9:00 AM until Noon

Now that Spring is almost here. It is time to get busy in the garden.  We have new plants to plant,  and the usual trimming, weeding, sweeping and raking. Plus the fun of working together in the beautiful garden. The Mediterranean  Garden will be dedicated on Sunday June 6th. Save the day and come out […]