Lake Merritt's Bonsai Garden – Oakland, California - Atlas Obscura

Lake Merritt's Bonsai Garden

Bonsai garden in Oakland is curated by the first non-Japanese female bonsai master in the United States. 


More than 50 superb bonsai and many viewing stones (suiseki) are on display at any given time. The collection rotates regularly, so visiting several times throughout the year is suggested if you want to see all that this garden is capable of.

Curator Kathy Shaner is the only Japanese-certified bonsai master in the United States, and her work and watchful eye produce accurate and breathtaking examples of this delicate horticultural art form.

This permanent collection assures that these precious trees and stones by outstanding masters and collectors will be preserved for everyone’s enjoyment. A sister bonsai collection is the Golden State Bonsai Collection at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino near Pasadena, California.

A must-see for Bay Area plant fanatics, the Bonsai Garden, complete with volunteer docents providing you with a self-guiding key sheet describing each tree and stone, is a Lake Merritt treasure.

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