The Bonsai Garden softly glows by lateen light during Autumn Lights Festival October 16-16, 2015.

The Bonsai Garden softly glows by lateen light during Autumn Lights Festival October 16-16, 2015.

The Bonsai Gardens at the Gardens at Lake Merritt celebrates its 15th Anniversary this year and will be open with docent guided tours during Autumn Lights. The glowing Japanese lanterns among the Bonsai that can be hundreds of years old – this is a sight to behold! The GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt is the home to some of the finest Bonsai on the west coast. The BGLM, located at Oakland’s Lakeside Park, is the only major all-volunteer bonsai garden in the country and houses some of the most important bonsai in the US. It was built, is staffed and maintained by volunteers from throughout the greater Bay Area and is supported entirely by donations from our visitors and the bonsai community.

Docents can point out the historic Daimyo oak tree that was presented by the newly opened Japanese government to the US Ambassador to China in the 1860s during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. You can view the oldest tree in the collection – estimated to be over 1,600 years old and can see the pine tree that was featured at the 1915 Pan Pacific Exhibition in San Francisco.

This permanent collection assures that these precious bonsai and suiseki stones by outstanding masters and collectors will be preserved for everyone’s enjoyment. Nearly 100 superb bonsai are on display at any given time with another 100 in reserve.