It’s a weekend for plant people: Tour 30 spectacular gardens or hike Orange County

A homemade cottage playhouse.
Miriam Johnson’s homemade cottage playhouse is one of many charming features in the 2021 Mary Lou Heard Memorial Garden Tour of 30 Orange County gardens this weekend.
(Miriam Johnson)

This week’s garden calendar includes two scenic ways to stretch your legs in Orange County, while enjoying lots of beautiful plants, both cultivated and wild.

Please note that numbers will be limited during both events, to help people maintain social distancing.

Siri Lorece Hirth turned the front lawn of her tiny house rental into a densely planted microfarm. Here, she shares how she created a bounty for her community.

June 18, 2021

June 26-27
The 2021 Mary Lou Heard Memorial Self-Guided Garden Tour features 30 residential gardens on Saturday and Sunday along a broad swath of Orange County, from Seal Beach to San Clemente and inland to Santa Ana, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are by donation; proceeds support the Mary Lou Heard Foundation and Sheepfold shelter for women and their children in crisis. Visitors are asked to wear masks while touring the gardens and practice social distancing. The tour map is available to download at


We found the questions people ask most frequently about gardening and outdoor plants and went to local experts in Southern California to get some answers.

Sept. 1, 2022

June 27
Field trip through O’Neill Regional Park in Trabuco Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains sponsored by the Orange County chapter of the California Native Plant Society. Registration is required, limited to 20 hikers. Download the park map here and enter at 30892 Trabuco Canyon Road. Meet hike leader Jonathan Frank at 9 a.m. at the Live Oak Trailhead Expect at least two hours of moderate-difficulty hiking along a series of trails, including the Live Oak, Coyote Canyon and Vista trails as they head to the Hoffmann Homestead trail to visit the abandoned home site of the Hoffmann family and the “numerous ornamentals and succulents still surviving and sometimes thriving” at the site, according to the website. Free. Be sure to bring water, good hiking shoes, a sun hat and sunscreen. Expect to pay a $5 admission charge to the park unless you are a member.