Free Garden Tour

Focuses on California Natives,
Landscape Design and Urban Gardens

The annual Eco-Friendly Garden Tour will take place on May 4th!

Now in its ninth year, the Tour is sponsored by the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership and focuses on low water-use, sustainable landscaping.

Tour participants will learn water-saving strategies and garden tips from homeowners while visiting gorgeous gardens and mingling with fellow gardening enthusiasts.

The 2019 tour has over 40 inspirational gardens throughout Sonoma and Marin counties. Many of the gardens are owned by landscape designers and architects, enhancing the experience for those interested in landscaping their own yards or getting ideas for future landscaping projects.

Post Fire Gardens in Recovery

landscape templateThis year’s tour includes a variety of new gardens in Sonoma Valley, a few of which have recovered from the 2017 Wildfires that swept through the region. The resilience of native plants have been visible on these properties and are beginning to bloom with color and wildlife.

The California Native Plant Society Milo Baker Chapter will be presenting California native gardens in Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Kenwood and Sonoma. Each of the gardens will have California native plant experts on hand to provide information to visitors. Several of the gardens will include additional activities such as native plant talks, demonstrations, and a native plant sale at the Laguna Environmental Center. Betty Young from the Milo Baker Chapter of the California Native Plant Society comments on the importance of California native plants in our landscapes:

“As we lose more and more natural habitat, planting native plants in our gardens can replenish some of the precious habitat that has been lost. This is particularly important for the Monarch butterfly. Counts were low last year and this year are only 10% of that. They are truly on the brink of extinction in central California. Planting milkweed in your garden, the plant they must have to lay eggs, is essential to bring back the Monarchs. Each native you plant, means you attract and support butterflies, birds and other pollinators with your garden.”

Also, the Petaluma based non-profit Daily Acts will also be presenting gardens in Windsor, Cotati and Petaluma as part of their Resilient Homes Tour. These gardens optimize precious resources to create bountiful landscapes that offer beauty, wildlife habitat, fire defense and fresh food. Homeowners have designed their landscapes as mini watersheds, collecting rainwater, repurposing graywater, and nurturing the soil to keep as much moisture on site as possible.

Tools for Success

The Partnership offers a wide variety of free local programs and outreach aside from the annual tour. These programs include Garden Sense, the Landscape Design Templates and the DIY Toolkit.

Garden Sense is a free program open to all Sonoma County residents who want to learn how they can transform their landscape to save water. After registering online, a team of Sonoma County Master Gardeners, trained as Garden Sense Consultants, will visit your home to discuss water conservation practices in the landscape. They offer design suggestions, recommend appropriate plants and provide one-on-one assistance to create a garden that is healthy, environmentally sound and beautiful.

The Landscape Design Templates are eight scalable landscape design templates, designed for the fire rebuild. These free, front yard designs are scalable to fit landscaped areas up to 2,500 square feet, ready-to-permit, and in compliance with local Water Efficient Landscape Ordinances.

The new DIY Toolkits are available for checkout at all Sonoma County Library branches. The toolkit allows homeowners to measure current energy and water consumption and make efficiency upgrades with free hardware including; dimmable LED lightbulbs, weather stripping, low-flow shower heads, aerators and more.

To learn more about the programs above, visit savingwaterpartnership.org. We look forward to seeing you on this year’s Eco-Friendly Garden Tour! The tour is free, but registration is required at: savingwaterpartnership.org/eco-friendly-garden-tour.

Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership / Sonoma Water Chad Singleton | Sonoma Water Programs Technician Chad.Singleton@scwa.ca.gov | (707) 547-1923

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