Be Inspired: Highlights from the 2019 native garden tours

By CNPS Outreach Staff & Volunteers

Perhaps nothing makes the case for native gardening like a yard full of vibrant lupine, fragrant Ceanothus, and glowing Fremontodendron. Seasoned CNPS volunteers understand this and thus work for months each spring to host dozens of garden tours up and down the state. From San Diego to Arcata, thousands of Californians are able to tour real native gardens thanks to the generous people who open their homes and the chapter leaders who organize and promote the tours. To each of you, the entire CNPS community offers a huge round of applause and gratitude!
In the spirit of “show don’t tell,” garden tours are important tools in demonstrating the variety and possibilities of native landscaping. The tours are also instrumental in dispelling common concerns about native gardening. Whether you crave a modern, spare aesthetic or a colorful cottage garden, chances are that you’ll see the garden of your dreams on a CNPS garden tour.

This stunning coastal garden in Orange County attracts and supports a variety of pollinators and wildlife. Photo: Kris Ethington


Garden visitors enjoyed sunny blue skies with beautiful chaparral yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei) in this San Diego garden. Photo: Ged Bulat

A beautiful entry into this California native, certified habitat garden. Photo: Kristen Wernick
Water agencies across the state are helping homeowners replace their turf with climate adapted native plants that require little supplemental irrigation beyond normal rainfall. This garden was created as part of the Moulton Niguel Water District NatureScape Program, and featured on both the NatureScape and the CNPS Orange County Chapter Garden Tours. Photo: Kristen Wernick
Orange California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), pink clarkia flowers (Clarkia ssp.), and other native blooms bring springtime color to a pathway. Photo: Cynthia Typaldos
Julie Clements’ garden welcome table on the CNPS Sacramento Valley Chapter’s Gardens Gone Native Tour. Featuring Julie’s handmade butterfly and moth ceramics. Photo: Elizabeth Kubey
A front yard blooming with life on the Going Native Garden Tour. Photo: Cynthia Typaldos


    1. Check with your local CNPS chapter for the next tour near you. In our area at least they send out the garden list right before the tour day. There are also some public gardens you could probably visit any time but that depends on where you live.

  1. I want to replace a lot of Mexican feather grass we planted 4 years ago, but my husband loves its soft motion in the breeze. Can you recommend a good substitute he will find satisfactory? (Redding, full sun)

    1. Hi Cherie,
      Thanks for reaching out. I would recommend California melicgrass (Melica californica), Big squirreltail (Elymus multisetus), deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens), and Feather reed grasses (Calamagrostis species). These are all beautiful ornamental bunch grasses that sway in the breeze!

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