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Spring Garden Tours

Spring is here, but before making your own garden grow, tour some of the East Bay's outstanding backyard paradises.


April 8: Ruth Bancroft Garden’s Spring Plant Sale and Opening Day

Ruth Bancroft Gardens celebrates its official spring opening with guided and self-guided tours throughout the day. In addition, a wide assortment of succulents and other drought-tolerant plants will be for sale, as will myriad gardening novelties. The plant sale is free; garden tours are $7. (925) 210-9663

April 15: Spring Plant Sale

Tilden Park’s Botanic Garden, filled with flora from all over the Golden State, is open for exploration, and native California plants will be for sale. Represent California’s diversity in your own backyard and support the Botanic Garden. Free. (510) 841-8732.

April 30: Secret Gardens of the East Bay

This year’s 20th anniversary self-guided tour includes 13 Oakland and Berkeley gardens selected for their rich beauty, art, and imagination. An all-day garden Marketplace, with entertainment and goods, takes place at Oakland’s Park Day School. All proceeds benefit the school. $45 tour, $13 preorder box lunch, or purchase lunch at the Marketplace. (510) 653-6250.

May 6: Through the Garden Gate

Organized by the Moraga Junior Women’s Club, the tour explores six hidden Lamorinda gardens—two each in Orinda, Lafayette, and Moraga. Proceeds benefit Children’s Hospital Oakland and the J.F. Kapnek Trust, which supports children in Zimbabwe. $25 tour, $10 lunch. (925) 631-1775.

May 7: Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour

For the organic enthusiast, 64 Bay Area gardens open their gates for public viewing. All gardens are bird and butterfly friendly, pesticide-free, water-conserving, and filled with native California plants. Free. Registration necessary. (510) 236-9558.

May 7: Hidden Gardens of the Valley

Not sure how to tame the wild that you call your backyard? Tour some of the outstanding private gardens in Pleasanton, and take notes on what to plant and how to make it look good. Benefits the animals of the Valley Humane Society. $35 tour. (925) 918-0799.

May 12-13: Clayton Gardens Tour

Clayton may be small, but there are some mighty fine flowers here. This tour includes five garden settings, including a sculpture garden; a garden party follows. The tour benefits the Clayton Historical Society. $20-$25 tour, $10 party. (925) 672-024o.

May 12-13: Gardens for Thought

The Danville-Alamo American Association of University Women invites you into seven San Ramon Valley garden wonders. Get ideas for your own backyard, or just enjoy a peaceful Mother’s Day weekend. $25-$30 tour. (925) 837-0826.

June 3: Memories in the Garden
Tour seven home gardens in Danville, Diablo, Alamo, and San Ramon, including a Tahoe inspired backyard, and a garden planted completely around a miniature railroad. All proceeds support the Valley Oak Respite Center, aiding seniors with Alzheimer’s. $25 tour. (925) 945-8040.

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