Of course we are all hoping for more rain in the S.F. Bay Area this spring, but whether or not we get it, it certainly looks like we will have flowers galore in May. Whether you decide to stroll through gardens, or hike through the hills, you can enjoy colorful blossoms. The following tour should provide stunning displays.
The “Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour” on Sunday, May 1, 2016, 10:00 – 5:00, is now in its twelfth year. It provides an excellent opportunity to see showcased native plant gardens in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. There are thirty gardens. They are of different sizes and shapes. Some are on steep hillsides; some are on the flat. They may receive different amounts of rain; the amount of sun or shade they receive varies; their soil conditions differ. You’ll see a great variety of plants and gain plenty of ideas for transforming or modifying your own garden.
This is a self-guided event, using the guidebooks supplied, and free (though donations are greatly appreciated). Kathy Kramer, the project coordinator, began the native garden tour in 2005 because her “passion to protect local watersheds has grown to change the way thousands of people look at nature and the value the planting and preserving of native plants.” (CBS news, link here. Kramer is assisted by hundreds—host gardeners, nurseries and other businesses, and volunteers. Her own garden is a showplace, click here to visit.
Participants “will have the opportunity to learn how select and care for California native plants, lower their water bills, design a low-maintenance garden, attract butterflies, birds, and bees, and garden without using pesticides.” The guidebooks will be mailed soon. Click here to register.
In addition to the garden tour, there will be more than fifty talks given during the day. In the weeks following the garden tour, there will be workshops on sheet mulching to get rid of your lawn, how to design a native plant garden, and how to install drip irrigation. Registering for the garden tour will give you access to information about these other related events.
You also have the opportunity to be a volunteer and spend a morning or afternoon greeting tour participants and answering questions about natives. There are lots of perks: “invitations to two Garden Soirees, in which tour gardens are open to hosts and volunteers; a pre-tour meeting with the owner and private tour of the garden you will be staffing; a guaranteed tour reservation for the half day you are free; a Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour t-shirt, and, perhaps best of all, heartfelt thanks for helping to educate the general public about the many pleasures and benefits of gardening with California native plants.”
“Applications for the 2017 Tour are now being accepted and you can download the application form from the Tour website. Garden visits will be made in May and June. (Please note that gardens must contain at least 60% or more native plants.)”
Bonus: If you take the garden tour, and visit half a dozen gardens, you probably will earn your 10,000 steps for the day.
Welcome to spring!