March 2015

Our Rhododedrons’ Story

The story of the collection of rhododendron species—and hybrids—at the Gardens at Lake Merritt reveals a unique interplay of three elements: there is a benign climate, there are energetic volunteers and park staff, and there’s allure of the plants themselves.

As a result of these dynamics, rhododendrons that struggle in colder and hotter climates thrive in […]

New Neighbors Move In

The Gardens at Lake Merritt are well-known as a showcase for many species of flora.  Recently, a leaky, resource-wasting water feature– designed in a day when few questioned the constant draining, cleaning and refilling involved in maintaining decorative ponds– was transformed into a habitat for several species of  fauna– dragonflies, damselflies and tree frogs.

What started as […]

February 2015

Japanese Garden

Step through the traditional Japanese wooden gate at the back of the Gardens at Lake Merritt, and become mesmerized by the soothing sounds of a koi pond fountain. A small arched and bridge and waterfall add to the soundscape. Colorful flowers and soaring trees help create the serenity that is the traditional focus of a […]

Gardens Featured in Short Documentary

Academy of Art College student Todd Anthony created this fantastic 2 minute documentary about the Gardens for a class project. Featuring aerial videography by Aaron Jae, the video offers a great peek into the gardens and a view of how they fit into the larger Oakland community.

January 2015

February in the Gardens

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. 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 […]

April 2014

Alameda County Master Gardeners Workshops 2014

There will be FREE Saturday Workshops in the Trials Garden this season by the Alameda County Master Gardeners and we hope you can attend. The workshops all start at noon and end at 1pm (unless otherwise indicated) and attendees are asked to please bring a portable or folding chair if possible. See the schedule below:

April […]

March 2014

Visit us at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show



The Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt will be exhibiting at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show this Wednesday, March 19th through Sunday, March 23rd at the San Mateo Event Center. We will be in Booth #1309 in the Educational Booths section of the Fiesta Hall, and would love to connect with you at […]

January 2014

Martin Luther King Day of Service

January 20th 8:30 am – 2:30 pm
Come join us for a day of service in the gardens. Activities include: weeding, mulching and much MUCH more.

Come and join our community as we celebrate MLK in the Gardens at Lake Merritt.

Download our helpful MLKday Volunteer Flier or email us at for more information.

Snacks and Refreshments provided […]

November 2013

Autumn Lights Festival Recap and Artist Awards

Thank you to all the attendees, volunteers, sponsors, artists, and performers who supported the Gardens at Lake Merritt by coming out to the Autumn Lights Festival! The two nights of illumination and merriment were quite magical, and we are already looking forward to next year.

Many congratulations to the artist award winners and honorable mentions at the Autumn Lights Festival. Here is a recap of the results as tallied by Lisa at Another Bullwinkel Show:

Mayor’s Choice Winner:
Stan Clark’s “Moon Ornaments”

Mayor’s Honorable Mentions:
Insect Sciences Museum of California’s “Living Insects Painting”
Ashwin Swamy & Eric Thorne’s “Flowing & Glowing Squid”
Kim Webster’s “Blown Glass Succulents”
Andrea Hurd’s “Seed Fountain for Bees”
The Mother & Toddler’s “Carved Gourds”
Sacred Seed’s “Mudlights”

People’s Choice Awards:
First Place:  Kim Webster’s “Blown Glass Succulents”
Second Place:  Stan Clark’s “Moon Ornaments”
Third Place:  Clive Brown’s “Venusian Love Blossom”

Below are some of our favorite images from the event…



September 2013

Volunteers Needed at the Gardens

We are always looking for volunteers!  Our beautiful garden runs almost entirely by volunteer effort, due to deep budget cuts.  We used to have 17 full-time gardeners, now we have 1.5 to maintain all the lake parklands.  Join us for gardening volunteer days:
9:30 first and third Saturdays, Mediterranean and Sensory Gardens, bring your gloves and join the party.

9:30 […]