Native Plant Garden Tour

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2017 Theodore Payne Garden Tour. (Illustration of California Buckwheat courtesy of Gene Bauer)

Everyone is talking about this year’s heavy rains, and the promise they bring of spectacular wildflower displays throughout the state. I will be taking some wildflower trips – hopefully starting this weekend – and will post about these as time allows. Our native plant gardens have also responded to the life-sustaining and cleansing rains. There is no better way to experience wonderful native gardens in the Los Angeles area than on the Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour.

On the weekend of April 1 and 2 from 10 am to 5 pm, more than thirty vibrant and beautiful gardens containing at least fifty percent California native plants will be open to the public. Some gardens are open on Saturday, others on Sunday and a few can be visited on both days. Garden owners, designers and volunteer docents are available to answer questions and share their love of native plants with visitors. The biggest problem is that it is hard – nearly impossible – to make it to every garden and still spend enough time at each to sense its unique personality. You don’t want to miss this event; tickets are available online.

Wild Suburbia

My house has been on the tour many times (including 2014, 2016), and each of those years, right before the tour, I would find myself wondering why I was at home planting, weeding, and fretting when I could be planning to visit other wonderful gardens instead. Yet on “off years,” like now, as the flowers come into bloom I regret that I won’t be sharing my garden with the tour-goers who are always so enthusiastic and supportive. Next best thing is to share pictures on my blog of my garden as the plants burst into bloom.

Island bush poppy (left) and pink flowers of Schoener’s Nutkana rose (right).


Border garden of native monkeyflowers, Senecio palmeri (silver leaves), and nonnative Mexican sage and white lantana.


Native bunchgrass with Ceanothus ‘Joyce Coulter’ and Solanum xanti ‘Mountain Pride’ (in back)


Schoener’s Nutkana rose

Hope to see you at the Theodore Payne 14th Annual Native Plant Garden Tour!