BGLM Commemorative Bricks on sale at Mammoth

Mammoth Auction and Plant Sale is coming this weekend, February 17 and 18, 2018. The Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt (BGLM) will be selling its commemorative bricks to raise funds for improvements under construction. All proceeds go to the BGLM Garden Revitalization Opportunity (GRO) Project. The bricks are quality, long lasting and the state of the art laser treatment which inscribes your message or logo for the life of the brick. No filler, paint or epoxy. Guaranteed for the life of the brick. Here are examples of logo bricks purchased by clubs and individuals. For more information, visit the website Commemorative Bricks.

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Garden reopened on Tuesday, November 21

Fundraising for Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt’s GRO Project

The Bonsai Garden has been closed since the end of the Autumn Lights Festival, October 19-21, to install pavers on the pathways. If the rain cooperates, we will reopen the gates to the public at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, November 21. Stop by and watch us GRO.

The Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt (BGLM) has been raising funds for its Garden Revitalization Project (GRO) for months. To date, over 50% of the $100,000 goal has


been contributed to revitalizing our Bonsai Garden museum. But, there is more to do. This project aims to upgrade the display benches and stands, watering system, pathways, add windows and much more, in order to meet the challenges of caring for and maintaining the historic and legacy bonsai collection in a professional and museum quality manner.

BGLM has recently initiated a commemorative brick fundraising drive in which individuals, clubs and businesses can purchase a variety of laser engraved bricks for $150, $250 or $500, and the proceeds will help fund the GRO Project. The engraved bricks will last a lifetime and rest in a place of honor at the entrance to the Bonsai Garden. For information on the bric

ks click here: Commemorative Bricks.

Another method of contributing funds to the GRO Project is to simply donate any amount through the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt’s crowd funding website – YouCaring.

Thanks for your patience while we were closed for the construction. Drop by soon. I’m sure you will feel it has been worth the wait.

The Mammoth is coming soon

The Annual Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt Mammoth Auction & Sale will be held on Saturday, February 17 and Sunday, 18, 2018 at the Lakeside Garden Center in Oakland, CA.  This is an official appeal for materials for the Auction of quality bonsai on Saturday and the Sale of bonsai and pre-and-developing bonsai on Sunday.  Items may be donated or submitted on consignment.

Bonsai for the Auction will need to be submitted by December 30, 2017. Material for the Sunday Sale will be accepted at the Garden Center on Saturday, February 17th, 9am – 4pm and Sunday, February 18th, between 8am – 9am. Any bonsai material, pots, etc. will be accepted as sale material.  Consignment items for the Saturday Auction will have a 30% charge and for the Sunday Sale will have a 25% charge.  Again, full donations are appreciated and tax-deductible. Contact Mike Mello, 510-886-1568 or Dennis Hawkins, 510-657-8229 for more sale information. If you wish to place a reserve price on your item in the Auction, you will be charged a fee of 10% of that reserve if the item does not sell. This fee goes to help defray the cost of the auction.

For complete Mammoth Fundraiser details visit HERE.

Watering the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt

By George Haas

Watering by hand nearly 200 bonsai and accent plants is undertaken by volunteers for the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt, when all systems fail. The task is challenging and in the summer months necessary two to three times in a single day.

The new overhead watering system in operatio

The timed watering system in existence for many years utilized Drip Irrigation and Low Volume Watering products, including water connection kits, distribution tubing, drip lines, fittings, drip emitters, filters, and more.
Bonsai experts all agree watering bonsai is critical in the care and maintenance of bonsai. Overwatering and inadequate watering can be the death of bonsai. We generally do not worry much about overwatering. Although, watering too frequently can be harmful to the bonsai. Because we use special bonsai soil mixes in the potting of bonsai, over watering just drains through the bottom holes of the pot. On the other hand, inadequate watering or drying out the roots of bonsai results are usually fatal to the tree. Continue reading

West Coast Zen Garden Inspiration

by Sally Writes

There are so many different types of gardens in the world that just about anyone can find the one that is the perfect match for them. When you have weather like we do in the West Coast, creating and maintaining a flourishing garden becomes all the more achievable.

One type of garden that is gaining in popularity recently, is a Zen garden. You can chalk

it up to people leading busier lives, dealing with increased stress, being surrounded by too much technology, or just not having enough alone time, but the fact still remains: people are looking for more ways to conveniently contemplate, reflect and meditate. That’s where a Zen garden comes in. Consider it a way to create your own personal utopia that you have constant access to. While the beauty of any type of garden is that you can personalize it to your own liking, here are three standard features to consider including in your own Zen garden, for optimal results:


Use nature itself to decorate your beautiful and relaxing Zen garden and soon enough achieving inner peace will come naturally and effortlessly. You can use plants native to California for a local touch, or expand and incorporate multiple different varieties. You can use plants as a utilitarian way of creating a border or fence for your Zen garden, or simply to keep the area inside green and full of life. Whatever options you choose, just make sure to include some luscious plants.


A source of life, so it should have a spot in your Zen garden, right? Not only does water symbolize life, purity, resilience and even love, the actual sound of it is calming, relaxing, and absolutely vital for some outdoor meditation practice. Choose a beautiful fountain in the size that best makes sense and make it the focal point of your garden. Soon, peaceful thoughts will begin to flow effortlessly.


Many Zen gardens feature multiple statues, and you can opt for as many or as few as you like. If certain animals, people, or images hold a special meaning for you, incorporate their statues throughout your garden for some extra inspiration. You can even opt for a 2-in-1 idea and choose a water fountain that doubles as a statue, meaning you get the relaxing and calming effect of flowing water, coupled with inspiring imagery.

So, while no two people are identical, neither are gardens. That is the beauty of it. Personalize your own Zen garden to make it a place of fulfilment, contemplation, meditation, and peace. You’ll never want to leave!

Hats off to the Bonsai Garden

Order a hat and support GRO

Summer is coming and I’m sure you can use a new hat. We have BGLM logoed hats available online in Hunter Green, Black, Khaki and Neon Pink. We are offering our new BGLM logoed hats for sale online to raise funds for our GRO (Garden Revitalization Opportunity) project. The hat is 100% cotton twill made by Port & Company, one of the

Speaking of GRO, you’ll be pleased to know that we have nearly 3/4 of our water system replaced with overhead misters. Over 1/4 of our display benches have been replaced with ones made of vertical grain red cedar that are masterpieces of Japanese joinery carpentry. premier suppliers in the industry. Our BGLM logo is embroidered on the front using metallic gold thread. Everyone who has purchased one loves it, and many have come back for a second one.

We have teamed up Broken Arrow, our apparel vendor, to offer you these hats online. Just click HERE to order or stop by the Garden to pick up one or two.  You’ll love wearing it around town and to Club meetings and you will be supporting your Bonsai Garden.

Please note that since online sales this is a new project for us, Broken Arrow will ship your order when the test program is complete after May 31. This will allow them to make the hats once all of the orders have been received. If this is a problem for you, please respond to this email and we can make other arrangements. Thanks for your continued support of our Bonsai Garden.

Tourism Cares for the Bonsai Garden

On a cold and rainy Saturday, members of Tourism Cares came to the Bonsai Garden and helped us sort wire and stain new display benches. It was such a treat working with folks from the tourism industry who flew in on Friday and spent their Saturday with us before flying out on Saturday night. Not only were they great workers, but they were very pleasant and energetic as well as interested in learning more about bonsai and the Garden.

We continue to be fortunate to have enthusiastic volunteers from the community participate in volunteer projects at the Garden. Our next big volunteer day is Earth Day on April 22. Several groups have already contacted us to volunteer, but there is always room for more. Just email us at For more information about Earth Day, visit Oakland’s Earth Day website.

We are indebted to members of Tourism Cares and other groups who volunteer in support of our Bonsai Garden.

Tourism Cares, a 501(c)3 nonprofit*, is the charitable community of the travel and tourism industry.  It unites the industry in three initiatives where, in addition to individual company efforts, it can make a greater difference by working together. Tourism Cares channels the philanthropic passion and commitment of the travel industry to protect and restore emerging or at-risk destinations we all care about, such as New Orleans after Katrina, Plimoth Plantation, the Los Angeles Waterfront near San Pedro, and most recently, Nepal. Through volunteering, grants, business connections and advocacy, it invests in high potential destinations where tourism can be an engine of prosperity and community pride.

Ryan Neil Demo Raised Funds for GRO

By George Haas 
BGLM Marketing Manager

Before the re-potting.

Ryan Neil performed a great re-styling and re-potting of the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt’s Rocky Mountain Juniper (BGLM No. 401) at the Lake Merritt Sailboat Boathouse on Saturday, March 4, 2017.

Ryan’s demonstration was a special fundraising event in support of the Garden Revitalization Opportunity (GRO) project. BGLM is raising $100,000 to replace worn out display and seating benches, upgrade water systems, install new pathways, and more.

Ryan’s first appearance as a headliner was at the 2010 GSBF Convention in Santa Clara. The tree he styled was the same Rocky Mountain Juniper, which was placed in the auction and purchased by BGLM board member Andrea Burhoe. Subsequently, Andrea donated the bonsai to the BGLM. In 2012, at the Lakeside Park Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, Ryan did a first re-potting demonstration, placing the Rocky Mountain Juniper from a wooden crate into a old Chinese pot. For the period of 2010 to 2015, Ryan cared for the bonsai at his studio in Oregon, when it was moved to the Garden and placed on permanent display. Continue reading