Grown in the Golden State: Tour some of California’s most beautiful native gardens

Mad about manzanita? Will you walk for miles to spot a bleeding heart? This spring, you can see some of California’s most spectacular native gardens and plants taking place in the Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, East Bay, Sacramento and Santa Clara areas.

The California Native Plant Society has the full lineup of dates right here. Ryan and I love these kinds of tours, which let you see indigenous plants and other wildlife in landscapes both public and private. (And, in many cases, talk to the gardeners who cultivate these spaces.) We always end up bringing home new ideas for our own backyard, new species obsessions, new suggestions for friends who want to replace their lawns with drought-tolerant beauties.

Garden 32 in Altadena. We’re looking forward to seeing the “rammed-earth bench nestled below a century-old coast live oak”! Same for the “dudleya-studded cliff” and “espaliered fremontia.”

Garden 33 in Pasadena, where a 35-foot-tall boojum tree is just one of the attractions!

This weekend, we’ll be attending the Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour in L.A. Saturday April 2 and Sunday, April 3, this self-guided tour takes you inside 41 public and private gardens—on Saturday, Westside and South Bay gardens will be featured; on Sunday, Eastside, San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Valley gardens will be open. Docents and garden owners will be on hand to answer your questions!

Get your tickets here. If you’re in the area, we’d love to see you this weekend. If you can’t make it, we’ll be posting photos from the tours on Instagram—so don’t miss a blooming moment. Below is a sneak peek at some of the gardens that will be open during this weekend’s tour…

All photos courtesy of the 2016 Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour

Garden 40 in Silver Lake. Wild lilac, here we come! This garden, located across the street from the Silver Lake Meadow, also features terraces planted with medicinal plants used by the Chumash people.

Garden 29 in Glendale.

Garden 26 in Valley Glen.

Garden 25 in Sherman Oaks.

Garden 11 in Culver City.

Garden 12 Del Rey. Modern outdoor living meets soft flora by way of a mature palo verde, globemallows, penstemons, and coastal sage scrub.

Garden 9 in Palms.

Garden 8 in Baldwin Hills.

Garden 6 in Oxford Square.

Garden 1 in Beverly Hills. “Legions of hummingbirds, songbirds, insects and other wildlife” are said to flock to this garden, established over a quarter of a century. The hillside landscape will offer some lessons in erosion control.

Garden 1 in Beverly Hills.

Garden 40 in Silver Lake. Here’s that wild lilac (also known as California lilac, in the Ceanothus genus) we’re looking forward to seeing EVERYWHERE.

Garden 5 in Oxford Square.

Meanwhile in San Diego, the Garden Native Tour also kicks off this weekend! Here’s our recap of the 2014 tour; long story short, we loved every minute of it. For our friends in the north, native garden tours will be happening throughout the month of April and into early May—in Sonoma, Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Yolo, Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Get full details here.

Stay wild.