Learn how to design your own native garden from fellow homeowners, landscape designers and docents at Los Angeles’ premier garden tour — the Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour — on April 1 and 2.
Spanning Altadena to Venice, the two-day, self-driven event features 32 native gardens that offer endless ideas on how to create landscapes that attract butterflies and birds, capture rainwater and thrive in California.
Some gardens will be familiar to regulars who eagerly await the annual tour hosted by the Theodore Payne Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting native California plants and landscapes. (We’ve included archival links to past garden tours below.)
But there are several newcomers to the tour. Here is a sneak peek of nine new gardens you won’t want to miss this year, labeled by their number on the tour:
Garden 2, Sun Valley: A 1923 stone cottage in Sun Valley is complemented by a native meadow seeded with a custom grass mix from Theodore Payne. In the backyard are chickens and a 5,000-gallon underground cistern that holds rainwater.
Garden 8, Pasadena: In the front yard, a downed tree trunk is used as sculpture while a dry stream bed captures rain runoff. In the back: a labyrinth and writer’s retreat.
Garden 9, Pasadena: A 2,000-square-foot lawn has been transformed into a native garden filled with sages, perennial ground cover and wildflowers.
Garden 16, Historic Filipinotown: A former doctor’s office has been transformed into a private retreat filled with tough native shrubs, fragrant sages, cacti and succulents. Be on the lookout for uncommon natives such as saffron buckwheat, Ken Taylor flannel bush and pink-flowering sumac.
Garden 17, Beachwood Canyon: Native sedges and colorful flowering shrubs augment this midcentury home in Hollywood. A hangout area in back offers ideas on how to landscape a steep hillside.
Garden 18, Beachwood Canyon: For a clean, modern look: massings of small scale natives up front. The backyard offers an experimental approach to a steep hillside with a gabion wall, hemp and wattle netting.
Garden 22, Oxford Square: The front yard of a restored 1911 Craftsman receives no supplemental water beyond the rain. In back: a kid-friendly backyard composed of the native turf San Diego bentgrass.
Garden 24, Jefferson: Manzanita, ceanothus, toyon and buckwheat mix with non-native white roses to offer year-round blooms.
Garden 28, Santa Monica: Rain gardens capture water runoff in both front and back. Plants include California evening primrose, white everlasting, rare Wright’s buckwheat and endangered Hearst’s ceanothus.
What: Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 1 (featuring visits to San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Valley locations) and April 2 (showcasing Los Angeles and Westside gardens).
Tickets: $25 for members and students; $30 for non-members. Tickets, which cover both days, are available online or at Theodore Payne Foundation, 10459 Tuxford St., Sun Valley. (818) 768-1802 ext 15.
Info: nativeplantgardentour.org includes photos, descriptions and plant lists for all participating gardens on the tour.
GARDENS FROM THE ARCHIVES, ALSO ON THIS YEAR’S TOUR: