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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 […]

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 […]

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: […]

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 […]

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.  […]

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 […]

The Green Heart of Oakland for Fifty Years

Discover a Hidden Jewel in the City of Oakland, California

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 […]

Winter Gardening Tips

Tips provided by the Alameda County Master Gardeners
Winter Months: Although it is cold outside, the early months of the year are important for getting your garden off to a good start.

Plan your summer garden. For vegetable variety recommendations for areas near coastal California,  consider the recommendations from our test garden. Another useful resource for gardeners whose plots […]

Butterfly Whisperer Brings Monarchs to Gardens and Lakeside Park

Butterflies, beautiful and important pollinators, are thriving in the Gardens thanks to Park Supervisor Tora Rocha and the schoolchildren and garden regulars she has enlisted to help incubate and release some 20 Monarch butterflies.

Each Monarch lays about 1,000 eggs with only one or two making it to adulthood. Fungus, wasps and flies are a Monarch egg’s nemesis. The […]