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2014 Help Wanted »       Previous Tours »
Spring Native Plant Garden Tour: Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Download the flyer:   8.5x11", print, 3.4MB   /   8.5x11", web, 0.2MB


SAVE THE DATE for the Native Plant Garden Tour organized by CNPS Yerba Buena Chapter.The purpose of the tour is to expose gardeners to native plants, their charms in a garden and the benefits and possibilities of their inclusion in an attractive, wildlife-friendly garden.To this end we include an array of private gardens: mature gardens featuring 100% natives (focusing on compatible plantings), mixed gardens, professionally designed and maintained artistic gardens, gardens focusing on habitat for wildlife (for example, the chorus frog), gardens integrating food production with native plantings, gardens in transition to include more natives. We also feature public gardens dedicated to local flora and fauna or similar gardens not usually open to the public

Gardens on This Year's Tour:

Georgia Fie's at 4 Valletta Court              Download a plant list »

Easy access! A very small but mighty garden with manzanita, holly leaf cherry, coffeberry, lemondberry, pink flowering currant, and ceanothus. There is also a "guerrila garden" on the corner where many natives have been planted, such as silk tassel bush, toyon, ceanothus, grasses, and many more. You can enjoy this as you walk to another garden on Valletta.


Fred Rinne's at 642 Cayuga Avenue              Download a plant list »

This is a front "lawn" of purple needlegrass with associated coastal prairie species such as poppies, lizard tail, blue eyed grass, buckwheat, aster, seaside daisy offset by a single non-native Joseph's Coat climbing hybrid tea rose. This challenging site is cherty clay with extremes of temperature. Truly a test of survival of the fittest.


Bob Hall's at 1946 Grove St. Apt. 3              Download a plant list »

The yard was suffering from neglect and hosted an array of invasive weeds. But after a lot of hard work and many trips to eleven different native plant nurseries, the yard is turning around. Local natives from HANC as well as some homegrown coast buckwheat and seaside daisy liven up the mix of other California natives such as hummingbird sage, heuchera maxima, Lewesia and manzanita.


Susan Floore's at 3984 26th Street              Download a plant list »

From disastrous, major plant deaths came an opportunity for this north-facing, shady garden to grow a new look. The owner filled recently empty flowerbeds with cheerful natives such as Douglas iris, fringe cups, monkey flower and heuchera. In a deep shade area under the deck she created a native fern garden with wild ginger, redwood sorrel, and bleeding hearts wandering here and there among the ferns. Surviving from earlier years, mature birch trees tower over newer plantings of western azalea, huckleberry, hazelnut and a young silk tassel tree. This three-and-a-half year old garden continues to go through delightful transformations as additional areas are planted in natives.


Anna Schopp's at 635 9th Avenue #2              Download a plant list »

This Richmond District garden displays a love of native trees, shrubs and perennials that form the backbone of a drought-tolerant, habitat garden. The plants enclose and protect this backyard and provide shelter and food for a wide variety of birds and animals. The competition includes Heteromeles, Ceanothus, Coast Silk Tassel, Rhododendron, Red-stemmed Dogwood, Black Twinberry, Bush Island Snapdragon, Buckwheat, Tree Lupine, and California Poppies that thrive in the sandy-soil endemic to this neighborhood. Drought-tolerant herbs such as rosemary, lavender, and geranium add their flower color, leaf textures and scents to the garden. Douglas Iris have naturalized and reproduced unique flower colors and forms. Beach strawberry is a well-established ground cover. Anna’s Hummingbirds drink the nectar from Salvia flowers and myriad native birds find plenty to eat and places to shelter and raise their young.


Jane Baughman's at 25 Hazelwood

Formerly a lawn, this small natural area is nearing maturity, featuring an assortment of large shrubs including several buckthorns, two species of currant, a hollyleaf cherry, toyon, oceanspray, manzanita, and wax myrtle. Finding micro-niches under the canopy are native roses, twinberry, ferns, honeysuckle, sage, iris, strawberries, as well as a few grasses and reeds.


Christopher Campbell's at 59 Hazelwood              Download a plant list »

Shortly after this home was built in 1923 this front garden was planted with the still present yew, holly and camellia. When we moved in the holly tree and shrubs were neglected, in need of pruning. The yard was primarily lawn with a number of invasive weeds. We decided to leave the historic plantings as they both offer habitat for birds and illustrate the historic character of the neighborhood. In 2003 we pruned the historic plants, removed the lawn, enlarged the planting area by removing concrete then applied permaculture principles, using cardboard and a thick layer of chips to discourage weeds. We planted a lemon tree and local habitat friendly natives including coast buckwheat, seaside daisy, strawberry, dune knot weed, hummingbird sage, soft blue rush, sword fern, mock heather, coyote bush, pink flowering current, thimbleberry, silk tassel, CA wild lilac and coast live oak. This 12 year old garden is constantly in change; gopher consumption, completion by more aggressive species and selective removal continue to alter the original diversity of the garden.


The Ericksons's at 220 Hazelwood        Download a plant list »

This recently-planted 100% native garden was formerly a water-and-fertilizer-hungry lawn. It's now on the way to becoming a prime example of the new "traditional landscape" for our semi-arid climate. Mature Ceanothus and a new Silk Tassel Bush anchor the garden. A large cast of perennials from the Salvia, Eriogonum, Lupinus, Iris, Achillea, Artemisia, Festuca, and more genuses are filling in the remaining open spaces enthusiastically.


Greg Gaar's at 440 Hazelwood Avenue     Challenging terrain

This very large garden includes an adjacent public walkway (Globe Alley) that is also landscaped with native plants. Greg Gaar converted this garden from lawn to a very colorful and attractive garden of San Francisco natives in just under a year and has now grown into a feast for the eyes. For more information on this ambitious undertaking, visit Greg at the HANC Recycling Center. In addition to the 15-step public stairway into the back garden, there is a more accessible walkway to the left with gradual stepping stones.


Ted Kipping's at 257 Joost Avenue*       Download a plant list »     Challenging terrain

The theme of this garden is a rocky outcrop in a cloud forest. We prfoundly changed the flattish grade into berms, ponds, waterfall, bogs, screen, woodland, etc. There are seven soil types. I have lost count of the total number of varieties but would guess between 1,500-2,000 varieties. There are well over 100 kinds of plants from the California Floristic Province. See if you can spot them.


Warner Graves's at 156 Beulah Street

This garden features a variety of California natives beginning at the entrance with ferns, spicebush, rushes and other shade and moisture loving plants. Crossing a small pond and wetland area you enter a meadow with native bunch grasses and wildflowers. Bordering the meadow are several types of manzanita, ceanothus and other native or decorative shrubs. Most of the structural features of the garden are made from recycled bricks, logs and rocks taken from construction sites here in SF. This colorful garden delights year round and reflects the home owners passion for the outdoors.


The Bors's at 785 Carolina Street              Download a plant list »

This is a largely shade garden with ferns, trillium, and other shade plants. It also has a coast live oak, pink flowering currant and more than 30 native plants that insure a steady stream of birds, bees, and other beneficial insect visitors. The plants and various creatures are enjoyed and sometimes drawn or photographed by artist Margo Bors from her studio that looks out on the garden.


Sutro Stewards Nursery at 195 Behr Avenue           Download a plant list »   Challenging terrain

Native Plant Nursery featuring species found between the San Bruno Mountains and Golden Gate Bridge. Our plants are used for both ornamental plantings and habitat restoration projects with emphasis on hosts for pollinators.


The Beitiks' at 85 Hazelwood Avenue          Download a plant list »

The front yard was planted by our family about six years ago and is an ongoing laboratory of sorts. We’ve made some mistakes, but we’ve also had some pleasant surprises! The back yard was designed by a local physician whose second career is native landscape design. Both yards combine native plants, succulents and geraniums. Native plants include: franciscan manzanita, wild ginger, pink flowered currant, phacelia, pacific coast iris, ceanothus, flannel bush, blue-eyed grass, silver lupine, penstemon, bush anemone, western swordfern, fringecup, wild strawberry, lizard’s tail, California horkelia and white sage. Under the expert care of gardener Marina Lazzara, our little patches of natives continue to change, grow and thrive!


Robert Oreglia's at 158 27th Street              Download a plant list »

A small backyard garden has gradually been planted with over 50 species of natives with particular attention to San Francisco native plants. Most recently the lawn has be replaced with native wildflowers, shrubs, and a small fountain. In the front a concrete parking island has been removed and the area planted exclusively with SF natives including three endemics: Franciscan manzanita and wallflower and Ceanothus thyrsiflorus presidio.


Dorian Stull's at 163 27th Street #3              Download a plant list »

Native Plants adapted to an existing formal garden plan. Most Non-natives were removed the in the process. The previous garden had many invasive self propagating species, Calla lilly, baby tears, peacock lilly, english columbine, nasturtium to name a few. Perennial Natives are now established and many are self propagating. The garden has spots in deep shade to full sun the natives were chosen for the different types of sun and soil mostly clay. It also includes a vegetable bed and various herbs in pots. The center has a small solar fountain to add zen.


261-263 Cumberland Avenue

The owner is a retired gardener who plants for the insects and butterflies which attract birds. This garden features cowparsnip and includes several kinds of Ribes, Ceanothus, sticky monkey flower and manzanita. Look for a PURPLE building above Dolores Park. Parking is difficult on weekends, but be brave.


photos by

Jeanne Halpern's at 34 Valletta Court         Download a plant list »   Challenging terrain

When my next door neighbor cut down the dying pine adjacent to my garden, I offered to replace it with a baby coast live oak. Once he accepted, I offered to extend my native plant garden into his back yard so it wouldn’t look so empty, and he accepted. That was two years ago. Now, as you start down the trail beside the Wildflower Meadows, you’ll find the latest addition to my 14-year-old garden: The Dying Pine Replacement, featuring red elderberry, cow parsnip, poppies, iris and an amazing cairn from Stinson Beach. As you continue over ten trails and stairways, you’ll discover the Heuchera Corridor, the Birthday Oak, the Rock Garden, Hilary’s Hillside, Marina’s Succulent Triangle, and California phacelia everywhere. Those of you who’ve seen the garden in earlier incarnations will now find, at the end of April, more than forty glorious species in bloom.


Last photo (only) by Margo Bors

Denise Louie's at 11 Malta Drive*         Download a plant list »   Challenging terrain

This garden includes a few volunteer natives, like blue-eyed grass, wild cucumber and polypody. It also includes a few rare natives, like SF wallflower, Lupinus albifrons var. collinus, and fiesta flower (Pholistoma auritum from Yerba Buena Island). On one side of the garden there is a steep face of chert, replete with folded layers. Access is steep, part rocky and at your own risk. A cable handrail is installed alongside a suspended staircase; otherwise there is no rail. This garden exemplifies what can be done on difficult terrain.


Jennifer Serwer's at 86 Caire Terrace

Our garden is located on a sunny slope of the South side of Potrero Hill. It contains, many California natives that are attractive to bees and birds. It is thriving with a variety of plants that provide us with a lovely view of small forest on the North side of our home. The garden consists of native perennial shrubs and trees with an understory of ground cover. In the spring we sow California wildflowers and many native bees visit them.


Gitta Solomon's at 1243 12th Avenue         Download a plant list »

This young garden (planted 18 months ago) was professionally designed and installed for a family with two school aged boys. It features a tree fort perched in a Coast Redwood, raised vegetable beds, a dining patio, both shady and sunny planting beds planted with a mixture of natives and non-natives.


Plants for Sale at these Locations:

Ellen Edelson's 2207-26th Avenue (at Rivera St.), San Francisco, 94116. 11am-6pm. Easy Parking!

SPRING NATIVE PLANT SALE! Sale of plants native to our chapter area: San Francisco and northern San Mateo Counties. A very few plants are not locally native, but will not interbreed with our local flora, and are also good, useful garden plants. There will be well over 100 species available! They include: trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, ferns, succulents, annuals, ground covers, herbs, bulbs, grasses. Many will be in bloom on Garden Tour day! All have local wildlife value! Photos, reference books, and personal assistance will be available to help you choose the right plants for your garden. Sizes range from 2" to 5 gallon; most are 1 gallon or 4" pots. Cash, check or credit card accepted. Discount for CNPS members! (Memberships available onsite!) Open on Garden Tour Day-- from 11am to 6pm!


Mission Blue Nursery in Brisbane - Spring Plant Sale, Tour Day Only (April 27th), 11am-4pm

A volunteer-run nursery with wetland, dune, scrub and woodland species. Many species available with a 10% discount for CNPS members on Tour Day only. (Memberships available onsite!) Cash, check or credit card accepted. Open on Garden Tour Day from 11am to 4pm!

Nursery Plant Sale InfoDirections & Google Map

Help Wanted - The 2014 Tour Needs:
  • Publicity Assistant
    Our Publicity Chair does a great job of contacting local news media, but this event is too much for one person. We need a couple of additional helpers to work with her. Major publications like Sunset, Via, and Bay Nature should be notified in early January as to the date of the tour. It would be nice to have someone who could write brief stories that we could make available electronically with photographs as needed to publicize the tour.
  • Publicity in Your Neighborhood
    Could you contact your neighborhood newspaper; distribute posters to local libraries and businesses; post flyers on bulletin boards?
  • Broader-Based Publicity
    Distribute posters, post flyers, etc. to areas or neighborhoods not adopted by residents. Post notices to your web site or email groups, or ask appropriate organizations to publicize our free native plant garden tour. Email posters or articles to friends, personal groups, etc., and ask them to further distribute.
  • Last-Minute Help
    People are needed near the time of the event to take maps, handouts, signs, and other materials to the garden hosts. And, as you know, every project has unexpected needs. These are good jobs for people who can get around town with ease, and have the flexibility to volunteer brief time periods on short notice.
  • Co-Hosts
    On the day of the tour, we need people willing to help co-host at a garden site. No, you don't need to know anything about plants or gardening. You do need to be friendly and welcoming, to ask people to sign the sign-up sheet, to offer maps or other free handouts, and to facilitate guiding guests to the person/people showing the garden.
  • Interested? Respond to Susan Floore at or 415-285-4692 (email preferred). We will see that the information gets to the appropriate people.