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  Not Too Late for Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour
April 29, 2005
This Sunday, May 1, 2005, we will be participating in the much heralded BRINGING BACK THE NATIVES GARDEN TOUR. Our yard, which features over 150 different native plant species, will be one of four Richmond locations on the tour.

Registrants on this free tour will receive passes to 56 East Bay gardens, and a printed garden guide. Garden talks will be scheduled throughout the day. A variety of bird- and butterfly-friendly, pesticide-free, water conserving, low maintenance gardens that contain 30% or more native plants will be open on Sunday, May 1, 2005, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at various locations throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Participants on the free Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour will learn how to attract butterflies, birds and bees, garden without using pesticides, lower their water bills, design a low-maintenance garden, and select and care for California native plants. Nearly 60 showcase gardens will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m on Sunday, May 1, 2005. Native plants will be given away at some gardens, and available for purchase at others. Participants that fill out an evaluation will be entered into a drawing to win a free garden consultation from a noted landscape professional; there will be ten winners.

The delightful collection of gardens on the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour range from Jenny and Scott Fleming’s 50 year old collector's garden to several that are newly installed, from five-acre lots to small front gardens in the flats, from local native plants to the horticulturally available suite of natives from throughout California, and from gardens designed and installed by owners to those designed and installed by professionals.

A number of these gardens provide excellent bird habitat; lists of birds seen in the garden (and the plants that attract them) can be seen by visiting the Preview the Gardens section at www.BringingBackTheNatives.net. You can also see photographs of each garden, read extensive garden descriptions, and download plant lists there. Landscapers familiar with designing with natives can be located on the website, as can resources for gardening with natives, such as nurseries that sell natives.

What’s special about California native plants? They are adapted to our soil and climate, and are easy to care for. Native plants are naturally drought tolerant. They attract native birds, butterflies, and other forms of wildlife. And, as the gardens on the tour show, California native plants are beautiful; the gardens on the tour display a sense of place that is uniquely Californian.

Can I still register?

Yes. Online registration is closed, but you can register at selected locations on May 1st, the day of the Tour. Walk-in registration will be offered on May 1, the day of the tour, starting at 10:00, at nine gardens located in Alamo, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Hayward, Oakland, Livermore, Martinez and Richmond. Walk-in registrants will be asked to sign in, and provided with the printed garden guide, which contains all garden addresses and directions.

Walk-in registration sites are: Richmond

Rick Alatorre’s garden
3101 Roosevelt, Richmond

Directions: From the I-80 take the San Pablo Dam Road exit. Turn west, toward the Bay. Turn left onto San Pablo Avenue and go about a mile to Barrett. Turn right onto Barrett and continue to 31st Street. Turn right onto 31st Street and go 0.1 mile to Roosevelt. The house is on the corner.

Gardens in the Richmond area:

Richmond/Point Richmond

*                     Rick Alatorre’s garden

*                     Tom and Shirley Butt’s garden

*                     Anni Jensen and Carol Manahan’s garden

*                     Debbie Rheuark’s garden

El Sobrante

*                     El Sobrante Library

*                     Maggie Owens’ garden

*                     Idell Weydemeyer’s garden