Folks won't be trekking to neighboring gardens this year for the annual "Bringing Back the Natives" tour, which is held the first weekend in May. Instead the group has announced its 2020 virtual "Sundays in the Gardens," from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays for three weeks beginning April 26.
The tours will be held online for three days instead of one; they will still be free, although registration is required. They will be hosted on Zoom and livestreamed on YouTube.
"Bringing Back the Natives" tours were started in 2005 to share gardens in Alameda and Contra Costa counties that included at least 60% native plants. In past years, Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin gardens were featured, but this year only San Ramon and Danville gardens had signed up to be part of the tour in the Tri-Valley.
The tour shows that native gardens are beautiful and that they can be designed on any budget. Landscapers and other pros are at some sites to share their expertise in developing beautiful, pesticide-free, water-conserving native plant gardens, which provide habitat for birds, bees and butterflies.
The usual in-person event is free although participants must register at BringingBacktheNatives.net to receive a garden guide for $10, which lists the homes for a self-guided tour. Each year talks, listed in the guide, are also offered.
The program April 26 will present renowned ecologist Douglas Tallamy talking about "Restoring the Little Things That Run the World: Why It Matters and What We Can Do." He is the author of "Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens," and the New York Times bestseller, "Nature's Best Hope."
Tallamy will speak from 10-11:45 a.m., then a series of live garden visits will begin, featuring the garden owners and designers.
To register for the online event, visit www.bringingbackthenatives.net. The site also has photos and information about this year's 42 gardens, including a list of plants at each.