August 2013

Join Wild Oakland for a Pollinator Walk and Talk

Come join Wild Oakland for a walk in the Gardens Saturday, August 10, noon-2:00, and 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 […]

July 2013

Join us at the 2nd Annual Autumn Lights Festival!

We are happy to announce the Autumn Lights Festival fundraiser returns to the Gardens at Lake Merritt from 6pm – 10pm on Friday and Saturday, October 18 & 19, 2013!

Imagine several acres of garden illuminated with amazing and enchanting art installations created by local Bay Area artists. Electric fireflies flickering in the trees, glowing waterfalls, a flock of interactive books, a Polynesian Paradise with hand-crafted tiki lanterns and hula girls projected on palm trees. Fire art cars and live fire performers light the night while music and sound installations surprise at every turn on the garden paths lit with hundreds of luminarias. Attendees are invited to participate during the evening by coming dressed in their most interesting illuminated garden attire.

• Lighted art, fire, and sound installations by Local Bay Area Artists
• Food, Beer & Wine
• Artist’s Museum Store
Click here to buy tickets
Tickets are $25 in advance at  or $35 at the gate
Children 3-12 years are half price, free under 3 years
VIP Tickets for 21+ are $50, and are available in advance only. VIP Ticket includes free wine and beer tastings and illumination toys in the VIP lounge.




Artists and Art Installations





R. Emil Barber & Kyle Milligan
Polynesian Paradise with Hand-crafted Tiki Lanterns & Vintage Hula Projections
Palmetium Garden

Clive Brown
Eco-Foam Flower
Tree Stump near Rose Garden

Clive Brown
Disappearing Pine/Infinity Mirror
Pine Tree near the Beehive

Susan Casentini
Projected garden-related vintage home movies
Rock Face at the Waterfall Cascades

Stan Clark
Space Forest of Inflatable Sacred Space Asparagus Trees
Location TBA

Karen Cusolitos
Giant Floral Metal Sculpture
Location TBA

Echo Landscaping
Giant Trees Lit From Below
various trees

John Fadeff
Projected Shorts
The Green House

Tara Gill
Photographic Light Box
Location TBA

Golden State Bonsai Federation
Lighting on Bonsai Trees
Bonsai Garden

Insect Sciences Museum of California
Living Insects Painting
Community Garden

Adam Katz
Submersible Water Lighting
Waterfalls & Ponds

Kyle Milligan
Tulip Lanterns
Location TBA

Joanie Mitchell
Illuminated Batiks

Keiko Nelson
Floating Water Sculptures
Garden Pond

Robin North
Chrysalis Path Lights
Location TBA

Mie Preckler
Illuminated Tree Arch
Red Gate Area

Danya Pugliese
Patterned Steel Lightboxes
Location TBA

Sacred Leaf Studio presents Mud Lites
Ceramic Garden Lanterns
Sensory Garden

Ann Schnake
Location TBA

Elida Scola
Overlapping Tree
Location TBA

Valerie Sobel
Vegetal Hand-felted Light
Location TBA

Sun Brothers Studio (Kevin Gauna)
Entry TBA
Location TBA

Ashwin Swamy & Eric Thorne
Etched flowing and glowing squid panels
Location TBA

Tech Liminal
Electric Fireflies
Hornbeam Tree

Tech Liminal
Illuminated Trumpets
Angel’s Trumpet Tree

Jamie Vaida
Garden of Fire Flowers
Fire Garden

Lauran Van Duren & Kyle Milligan
Crysalis Lanterns
Magnolia Tree

Kim Webster
Illuminated Blown Glass Plants & Mosaic Planters
Location TBA

Kelly Whalen & Sara Dubois
Gourd Lanterns; Kitchen Sieve Lanterns; Carved Pumpkins
Community Garden

Mary White & Christina Bertea
Illuminated Bird Baths
Near Lathe House

Kevin Woodson
Woven Paper Lanterns
Mimosa Tree

Performers and Performance Schedule




Aileen Lawlor of Fire Smoothie
Fire Dancer
8-9:30PM Firescape Garden
8-9:30PM Firescape Garden

Amber & Aaron Snider
Singer Songwriter on guitar, Folk/Rock/Blues/Americana


Andrea Farrell & Jeremy Elliott of Wreck This Place
Singer Songwriter on guitar
8-10PM VIP Lathe Garden

Chris Head of Tank Half Full
Singer Songwriter on guitar & harmonica


Dalyte Kodzis & Claire Gendler
What’s a garden without Pink Flamingoes?

Deborah Hamouris and Buffalo of The DulciMates
Mountain Dulcimer & Voice

Franklin Beauregard Davis
Various Brass Instruments


Harold Tervort
Native American Style Flutes
8-10PM Sensory Garden
6-8PM Sensory Garden

Ian James
Mind Reading Magician

6-8PM Museum Store

Jc Villafan
Singer Songwriter

6-8PM VIP Lathe Garden

Kelek Stevenson and Dave Evans of Bitter Water
Banjo & Guitar

Laramie Crocker and his Universal Fun Machine
Singer Songwriter on guitar, with 3 singers and bass
6-8PM VIP Lathe Garden

Laura Inserra
Hang Drum

Lee Davidson
Rope lights dancer

Lisa Graciano
Bluesy World Music with Guitar, Flute and Vocals


Manda & Noelle of Very Fairy Events
Face/Body Painting and Glitter Hair Strands
6-10PM Japanese Garden
6-10PM Japanese Garden

Monica Williams & Wendy Loomis of Phoenix Rising
Native America Flute and Drums
6-8PM Location TBA

Nathan Moon
Acoustic Guitar

Paul Anderson
Dulcimer & Guitar

Vanessa Lowe
Eccentric Indie Folk Pop

8-10PM in VIP Lathe Garden

Volunteers Needed
If you would like to contribute by volunteering at the Autumn Lights Festival, please fill out and submit this form.

Funds raised will be used for improvements to the Gardens at Lake Merritt for the enjoyment of the entire community.

The Autumn Lights Festival is hosted by the Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt and  produced by AnotherBullwinkelShow.
Thank you to our wonderful sponsors:



May 2013

Join us as a Volunteer Ambassador on Love Our Lake Day 6.9.13


Love Our Lake Day is taking place on 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!

On Love Our Lake Day, […]

April 2013

Join the Committee of Volunteer Coordinators

For more than 50 years, this special garden in the heart of Oakland has been a place that city residents and visitors alike just love to experience as well as contribute to through volunteerism. And it is through the dedicated service of our volunteer force that we are able to keep the Gardens at Lake Merritt […]

March 2013

Welcome Spring by Volunteering in the Gardens

It’s that time of year when the days are getting warmer and longer. With spring’s arrival, you may feel the need to open your windows and spend more time outdoors. There is a lot going on in the greener parts of the city, and the Gardens at Lake Merritt are a perfect example of an […]

“What’s That Plant?” Plant Signage Program Underway


The next time you visit  the Vireya and Pollinator gardens, you will see something new: Permanent, botanical garden-quality plant identification signs engraved with the common name, botanical name, and plant family of each plant!


You also might see Gardens intern and Merritt College student Elaine O. placing the signs and taking notes about which plant placards […]

July 2012

Join us for the Lakeside Park Open House on Saturday July 14th

The City of Oakland Parks & Recreation (OPR) and the Friends of the Gardens at Lake Merritt (FGLM) invite you to explore and celebrate Oakland’s oasis at the Lakeside Park Open House, Saturday July 14, 2012, from 11AM to 3PM.


Stroll the gardens and enjoy a variety of family-friendly garden tours, demonstrations, and activities throughout the […]

October 2010

Lepidoptera! -Slides by Jan Washburn

California Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society presents Lepidoptera! – Slides by Jan Washburn

Thursday October 21, 2010 7:30 PM
Lakeside Park Garden Center
666 Bellevue Ave
Oakland, CA 94610
Lepidoptera is the insect order that contains the butterflies andmoths. The Lepidotpera are the most recently evolved order of insects, havingarisen (presumably) from the caddisflies. Butterflies and moths are some […]

Be The Change day – Redwood Habitat Restoration

On Saturday October 2nd 100 volunteers participated in Be the Change Day at the Gardens at Lake Merritt. The volunteers were arranged by Hands on Bay Area. I would like to thank Hands on Bay Area and the volunteers.  They worked on several projects. This is  the habitat restoration around a bed with three large redwoods.  Before the habitat restoration the bed was turf and ivy.  The volunteers today were predominately from Kaiser Permanente.  Lots of progress in a short time thanks to many hands. […]

September 2010

Rhododendrons! For the Rest of the Year

Photographer and plantsman Ted Kipping is a Certified & Consulting Arborist who has spent 40 years studying and working with woody plants and their associates. He has journeyed to many parts of the world to botanize and photograph plants and gardens to gain a better understanding. There is a plethora of lovely and visually engaging Rhododendron species […]