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 […]

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.


February 2014

Music in the Gardens

April 20 and 23 Rock the House will be performing their jazz mixes from their latest album, Moonshine. Join us for this family fun evening. Yadda yadda and more. This is a temp. post just for placement.April 20 and 23 Rock the House will be performing their jazz mixes from their latest album, Moonshine. Join […]

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 gardensatlakemerritt@gmail.com for more information.

Snacks and Refreshments provided […]

Planting A Native Bee Garden

With Native Bee Specialist Celeste Ets-Hokin
Early spring is the right time to rejuvenate or plant for a soon to be blooming, fragrant and buzzing native bee garden. A premier example of plant selection and pairing can be seen in the new native bee garden overseen by native bee specialist Celeste Ets-Hokin. The bee garden is located in the Pollinator Garden (across from the Edible Demonstration Gardens –look for the Pollinator signs).

“A good bee garden should include a mix of pollen- and nectar-rich annuals and perennials, offering flowers of different colors, sizes, shapes and bloom periods.  And of course you’ll want to make sure that at least some of these plants are California natives.  Native plants are generally four times more attractive than exotic varieties to our native bees,” says Celeste.

To give you a head start, here’s a look at some of the perennials and annuals she’s introduced to the bee garden. Then to learn more about native bees and the creation of their glorious garden in the Gardens at Lake merritt, be sure to read the following article by Celeste, “The BEE-UTIFUL Gardens at Lake Merritt:  We Built It and They Came!”

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 […]

The Gardens at Lake Merritt

The Green Heart of Oakland

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 center and a place to […]

August 2013

August Garden Events and Gardening Tips

August Special Events
Wild Oakland  Free Guided Pollinator Walk in the Gardens Saturday, August 10, noon-2:00. 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 Posse, a […]