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.


“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 […]

Singing and Volunteering in the Rain

While it was primarily frogs singing in the Vireya Display Garden on a recent rainy work day, volunteers were all smiles as they worked together to weed, plant, mulch around the beautiful Vireyas, and pot hydrangeas displaced by a large fallen tree.

A special thanks to Laney College Roundtable Club students for their terrific enthusiasm and hard […]

Rhododendron Show & Sale: Saturday, April 9

The American Rhododendron Society, California Chapter, presents it’s Spring Show and Sale at the Lakeside Park Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. The Saturday, April 9, 2011 Sale will be from 10-4pm, the Show will run from noon-4pm. Admission is Free.

The Show will feature a splendid floral display representing a wide array of rhododendrons. In […]

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 […]

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 […]

Regional Health Education’s Volunteer Service Event at the Gardens at Lake Merritt

On Tuesday August 10th afternoon, a highly motivated group of volunteers from Kaiser Medical Group weeded and sheet mulched a bed in the Rhododendron Garden in the Gardens at Lake Merritt.  There was great support from Oakland Public works in providing tools, cardboard, mulch and making several trips to cart away the green waste.