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Gardens Gone Native tour features 30 local gardens -- and it's free

Sacramento Valley CNPS event spotlights wildlife-friendly landscapes

This colorful garden was part of a previous Gardens Gone Native tour. This year, 30 gardens from Woodland to Rocklin are on the tour Saturday.

This colorful garden was part of a previous Gardens Gone Native tour. This year, 30 gardens from Woodland to Rocklin are on the tour Saturday. Photo courtesy SacValley CNPS

This garden tour covers a lot of ground – and inspiration. This Saturday, April 27, visitors can see 30 local wildlife-friendly landscapes that spotlight California native plants.

Hosted by the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, the “Gardens Gone Native” tour stretches throughout the greater Sacramento area. The tour is free, but registration is required to get the addresses, tour brochure and map.

Each of the gardens is at least 50% native plants. Some are well-established; others are relatively new. Every garden does something for local wildlife as well as the people who care for these plants. Many of these native-centric gardens are distinctly Sacramentan.

Since it's a self-guided tour, see as many or as few gardens as you like.

“The Gardens Gone Native tour is a free garden tour featuring 30 California native plant home and school gardens in the Sacramento region,” says SacValley CNPS. “Gardens are comprised predominantly of California native plants in the urban landscape.

“These gardens feature a variety of ways in which native plants can flourish in the home garden,” add the organizers. “Some are professionally designed while others are more functional and are a mix use of natives, food production, and living spaces. You will find delightful and sustainable gardens that harness water, create habitats, and add a sense of place.”

Don’t just drive by; get out and see these gardens up close – and ask questions. This is an opportunity to really learn about natives from gardeners with personal experience. How did they grow their gardens? What’s their secret to native success? What wouldn't they plant again?

“Attendees will have the opportunity to ask garden hosts about their choices and challenges," say the organizers.

Tour hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. See virtual tours of past “Gardens Gone Native” as well as register at


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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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