Spring is coming, and I already have two Native Plant Garden Tours on my calendar! Both are around Earth Day (April 22, 2014), and I can attend both as they are on different weekends. There is nothing like a garden tour to get me on my feet and off my garden bench!
I so enjoy seeing what other folks have done with their gardens, as they throw open their garden gates and welcome in visitors. Native Plant Garden Tours are an excellent way to discover what those native plants will look like in a garden setting!
Maybe you have seen some native plants at a nursery or viewed them on-line or in catalogs, but you just didn’t know how they would look all grown up. Will they spread too much and complete with other plants? Will they get too tall and shade out other plants? How will they look next to something else? What combinations work together? Will they truly bring butterflies to your native plant garden? Are they really hummingbird magnets?
One Native Plant Tour I enjoy every year is the Theodore Payne Native Plant Tour. It is a 2-day, self-guided tour, divided into two large areas of Los Angeles County: the San Fernando Valley on Saturday and LA’s Westside on Sunday. Unless you want to drive around all day, you are well-advised to plan your route ahead of time. This year’s tour will be on April 5 & 6th.
This year I am also going to attend the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase. In its 6th year, it is a one-day tour on April 26th to celebrate Earth Day. This is the first year I have gotten involved with the showcase, helping out by taking photographs of selected gardens and writing descriptions & posts for their newsletter. In order to qualify to be on the Tour, all gardens must be primarily Native Plant Gardens. One thing especially helpful on their website was their use of Google Maps so that visitors can plan their route ahead of time. This tour encompasses a smaller area than the Theodore Payne Native Plant Tour, and that gives it more of a community feel. Local school gardens are also included.
The Mar Vista Garden Showcase focuses on sustainable landscaping and sustainable living, and what does that mean? In drought-stricken California, it necessarily involves saving water. Some homes on the tour will feature water-saving ideas, such as water catchment systems that use reclaimed water- from your bath or laundry- repurposed for watering your garden or fruit trees; or keeping topsoil from drying out by using pavers with pebbles in between (a nice look); or by downsizing lawns; and planting drought-tolerant California natives. California natives are necessarily drought tolerant- because they belong here. They will not increase your water use, as they only require watering while they are getting established (first year).
Some of the homes on the Mar Vista Tour are also Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFGs). Urban run-off is a big problem. Pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are not only bad for pollinators, but are bad for our ocean, as well.
Wherever you live, there are undoubtedly Native Plant Garden Tours for you this Spring. Check with the local Native Plant Society in your State. California Gardeners visit the event calendar of the California Native Plant Society.
When you find a Native Plant Garden Tour, put it on your calendar. You will get a chance to talk to other like-minded gardeners who have embraced native plants because – they belong. And, gardeners who have invited wildlife into their gardens. You will come away inspired with new ideas and warmed by the meeting of kindred spirits.
Do you have Native Plant Garden Tours planned this Spring? Or, is your Native Plant Garden going to be featured on a Garden Tour? We’d love to hear about it!
© 2014, Kathy Vilim. All rights reserved. This article is the property of BeautifulWildlifeGarden.com We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.