Plan ahead for upcoming garden events

This spring season promises to be a glorious time to enjoy the outdoors. Drought-stressed plants have been rejuvenated, and their blooms should be spectacular. Yet despite last winter’s unusual deluge of rain, water conservation should continue to be a priority for all Californians, both in the home and in the garden.

We’re fortunate to have many beautiful, well-designed, water-thrifty landscapes within easy driving distance, and they provide great opportunities for weekend outings. The next few months will be an ideal time to visit one of the public gardens or garden-related events in our area, including:

Spring Open Garden Day
Saturday, April 22 from 9:00 a.m. to noon
Robert J. Cabral Agricultural Center
2101 E. Earhart Ave., Stockton

This event showcases the UCCE Learning Landscape, a demonstration garden created and maintained by the San Joaquin County UC Master Gardeners. Save a spot on your calendar now, and watch for a soon-to-appear article with more details.


Gardens Gone Native
Saturday, April 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Various locations in the greater Sacramento area

This is a free annual event organized by the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS). This year’s self-guided tour features 28 private gardens wholly or partially landscaped with California native plants, with a mix of professional and homeowner-created designs. Garden hosts will be available at each location to answer questions, and detailed plant lists are provided.

The sites on this tour are within Sacramento, Yolo, and Placer counties, with eleven gardens in the nearby cities of Sacramento and Elk Grove. For more information and to register, visit and select on “Events and Field Trips.” Maps and garden descriptions are provided upon registration.

Hummingbird sage and stepping stones at the 2016 Gardens Gone Native tour (Kathy Ikeda)

Mixed California native and Mediterranean plants in a garden on the 2016 Gardens Gone Native tour (Kathy Ikeda)














Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour
Saturday, May 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Various locations in the East Bay area

This is another free, self-guided tour, although donations are welcome to ensure that tours can be offered in the future. This year the event showcases 40 native plant gardens in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, including some newly planted ones and others that have been thriving for years or even decades. A two-day plant sale featuring several native plant nurseries is also a part of this event.

Locations for this tour are divided into two categories: Bayside Cities and Inland Cities. If you want inspiration for your Central Valley garden, visit sites in the latter category, since the climate in inland areas most closely matches our own.

To register for this tour, view a tour flyer, or access other information (2017 garden listings, photographs from prior tours, plant lists and descriptions, and more), visit All registrants receive a detailed garden guide (free in PDF format, $10 in print). Access to the gardens will only be granted with the ticket included in the guide.


Sculpture in the Garden
Tuesdays-Sundays, June 17-August 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The Ruth Bancroft Garden
1552 Bancroft Road, Walnut Creek

The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a non-profit dry garden planted with cacti, succulents and other water-thrifty plants from around the globe. This annual exhibit combines the best of both worlds: stunning plants interspersed with bold and innovative 3-dimensional artwork in a 3.5 acre outdoor setting. Garden pathways are unpaved but handicapped accessible. Garden admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, and free for members.

For gardening-related questions, call the UC Master Gardener office at 209-953-6112, or use our website:

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  • Blog Author

    Lee Miller

    Lee Miller is a University of Delaware graduate and retired fisheries biologist, he gardens on 10 acres and makes wine each year with the help of a cadre of friends. However, his first love is gardening and he grows various fruit trees, heirloom ... Read Full

    Marcy Sousa

    Marcy Sousa is the San Joaquin County UC Master Gardener Program Coordinator. She is a Stockton native and enjoys teaching others about gardening. She has her bachelors from Stanislaus State in Permaculture. She has been with the program since 2007. Read Full

    Nadia Zane

    Nadia Zane is a UC Master Gardener, a landscape designer and Stockton native. She has a fondness for California native plants and sustainable landscaping, which she utilizes in her work for Native Beauty Garden Design. She is a member of the CA ... Read Full
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