March 14, 2014

: Oakland, The Gardens at Lake Merritt; things to do

880 South 

Vireya rhododendron at The Gardens at Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA

Japanese black pine in Bonsai Garden at The Gardens at Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA The Gardens at Lake Merritt  Free.  No dogs. 

In addition to rhododendron and succulent gardens, this expansive property includes a Japanese Garden with a koi pond and small waterfall and a Pollinator Garden with a “bee hotel” (did you know that there are 1,600 native bee species in California?).  You’ll also see mature dawn redwoods, a giant old Angel’s Trumpet tree, and a bunya-bunya tree that dates from the 1915 World’s Fair.  All this and the largest collection of outdoor cool-weather palms on the West Coast, the largest collection of Vireya rhododendrons on the U.S. mainland, and a
Sensory Garden with 30 kinds of sage, too!

A Bonsai Garden exhibits more than 150 bonsai trees--among them a 400-year-old Japanese black pine that was brought to the U.S. for the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco and a Dalmyo oak that is the oldest in cultivation in the U.S.  The trees range in age from 30 to 1,000 years old.  An assortment of suiseki viewing stones is also displayed.  The gardens have been pesticide-free since 1998, and an effort is made to recycle and reuse everything.  An adjacent Lawn Bowling area has been here since 1910.

More things to do in Oakland.

Way more things to do in Oakland.

More gardens.

More ideas for exploring Northern California. 

images © 2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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