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GOING WILD WITH NATIVES: Come See What California Natives Can Do - CNPS Garden Tour 4/1&2

By Susan Lewitt, for Let’s Talk Plants! March 2023.

Come See What California Natives Can Do For Landscapes - CNPS Garden Tour April 1 & 2!

All I need to be truly happy is family, good friends and an eye-catching, peaceful pollinator attracting, California Native Garden! You will see why when you attend the 2023 CNPS San Diego 9th Annual Native Plant Garden Tour on April 1st & 2nd, 2023.

Buckwheat attracts pollinators including bees. Photo by Mary Wloch.

What are you waiting for? The tickets won’t buy themselves! Okay. Finish reading this article first, and then follow the provided links to purchase your tickets by March 27th because I know you will have a marvelous time.

You still aren’t convinced about using native plants? Before you go, please remember there are over 700 native plants that work for the San Diego area and there are many that are green all year round. There are also plants that work best for each season and with careful planning, a native garden can take any form and be just as beautiful as an exotic garden with much less hassle and work. So, please keep reading.

Garden pathway. Photo by Silke Gathmann.

Each day of the tour will be inspirational, inviting you to see over three different areas from coastal gardens to north county hillsides. You will be able to see how beautiful a native landscape can be, despite water restrictions, drought, record temperatures, and possible fires. These sustainable plants are part of a vigorous and attractive garden environment.

Highlights include artists at select gardens, a native landscapes HOA park, and a sweet elementary school-created habitat trail. Another ‘must see’ feature is a garden designed by KPBS radio host, Nan Sterman. It is a Mediterranean botanical garden including the use of native plants. Children’s events and activities are featured on both days.

Just as you make your house your home, you can make your garden a home for native birds and native plants. Photo by Christine Hoey.

The San Marcos and Escondido gardens will be open for your enjoyment on April 1st. On April 2nd head to the north coast to see the wonderful Encinitas gardens. All gardens will be open from 9 am to 4 pm.

Front Yard. Photo by Jennie Crim

Tickets will be $35 per person for adults and children 17 and under are free. For those who register early, you will receive the tour booklet “ticket” in the mail. Review the booklet and decide which gardens you want to see most. Then map out your route and load up your car with friends and family for a great garden experience. For tour information go to: Or for tickets go directly to: Special priced tickets for "Gift-A-Ticket", student and group discount tickets, are available at:

The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is a statewide nonprofit organization that works on increasing the awareness and appreciation of California’s native plant biodiversity. The mission of CNPS is to save natural areas. Through CNPS programs, professionals and the public are educated extensively in best practices to obtain these goals.

CNPS SD began offering native garden tours in 2012, which invited people to see over 140 public and private gardens. The proceeds from these tours are used to educate the public about the advantages of native landscapes and how they support the health of our communities.

Come on, don’t be shy. We still have tickets left and we want to show off these remarkable gardens to you!


Susan Lewitt is a member of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), participating in their Native Gardening Committee, and their Conservation Committee.


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