Lake Merritt is a tidal lagoon, connected to San Fransisco Bay, formed 10,000 years ago. It is also North America’s oldest wildlife refuge, established less than two decades after Oakland became a city. Our destination today was found alongside the lagoon where, within the Gardens at Lake Merritt (within Lakeside Park), a free, volunteer run bonsai garden can be found. The only Japanese-certified bonsai master in the United States is the curator and artistic director of the museum. The garden has very limited hours, so we had to plan accordingly, but the effort was rewarded with bonsais planted during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, planted for the 1915 San Fransisco Pan Pacific Exhibition, and one that is believed to be 1,600 years old. There are close to one hundred bonsais in total.
If you are ever in the area the bonsai garden is worth a visit. These little trees produce big joy.