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 still need to be engraved. I recently caught up with Elaine while she was making her rounds to find out more about her work on the signage project.


Intern Elaine O.

Elaine is quick to mention an additional benefit of the Plant ID signage project. She also is making a plant inventory which will be available to visitors as plant lists organized by garden and plant family. While the plant ID signs educate visitors in the Gardens, the plant lists will be available on this website for ongoing reference.




After all, we want people to be able to create amazing pollinator habitats in their own back yards. While our Pollinator Garden demonstrates the concept and showcases the amazing results –monarchs, hummingbirds, and bees everywhere! — our plant lists will help people choose and purchase the right shrubs and perennials for attracting the specific pollinators we consider Oakland locals.


This signage project is sponsored by the Hillside Gardeners and Merritt College and is just the beginning of an effort to bring permanent plant ID placards into all the Gardens at Lake Merritt. Directional signage for the gardens is also a top priority, says Oakland Public Works Park Supervisor Tora Rocha. In addition to assisting visitors, proper and thorough signage is important to groups like the Trust for Public Land, which can be instrumental in helping the Gardens raise much-needed funds for additional maintenance and improvement projects.


“Professional-looking, permanent plant ID and directional signage is a big step toward the Gardens earning a botanical garden classification,” says Rocha.