Tour Allure Allura

Garden of Barbara Lee-Jenkins on San Diego Horticultural Society’s Surf & Turf Garden Tour
Photo by Bob Wigand

Garden tour season is a San Diego rite of spring. Here is a list of tours and related events for plant lovers. Many of the tours sell out, so purchase tickets early. Often you’ll be rewarded with a discount.

March 29 

16th Annual Borrego Garden Tour
Visit six gardens, including the retreat of the late newspaper publishers Jim and Helen Copley and the 26-acre estate of philanthropists Sally Wong-Avery and the late Dennis Avery. Friday and Sunday lectures by Scott Calhoun of Tucson’s Zona Gardens and a Saturday barbecue at La Casa Del Zorro Resort round out the weekend. 

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets: $30 ($20 for members of the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association, event sponsors). Save $2 per ticket if purchased by March 22.

March 29-30

Blooming Consciousness Garden Native Tour
Fifteen eco-friendly, native-plant gardens and several of the homes they surround are open for self-guided visits on this tour in coastal and inland North County communities. Sponsors are the California Native Plant Society and its San Diego Chapter. Also included are talks by native-plant experts and a rain barrel station with information on available rebates.

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Tickets: $25, $40 for two, children under 12 free

April 5 

San Diego Horticultural Society’s Surf &Turf Garden Tour
Tour eight diverse private gardens in Solana Beach (the surf) and Olivenhain (the turf), as well as the Solana Beach Boys and Girls Club garden. Among the stops is the San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles’ 2013 Garden of the Year. Artists will be in residence, a marketplace will showcase garden-related items, food trucks will sell refreshments and an ensemble of the Youth Symphony will perform.

Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets: $25 ($20 for SDHS members if purchased in advance)

April 17 

Bernardo Gardeners Club Spring Garden Tour 
Four gardens in Poway and one in Rancho Bernardo are on this North County tour. Included are a plant sale by the Flower Girls and refreshments.

Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tickets: $15 (order by mail by April 10)
Information: 858-485-0288, 

April 25

Good Earth Plant Company Open House and Plant Sale
View green-roof and aquaponics systems and the latest living-wall technology at this open house at the company’s headquarters (7922 Armour St., San Diego). There also will be a plant sale. 

Time: 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Tickets: Free. RSVP required; email or call 858-576‐9300

April 26

19th Annual Friends of East County Arts Garden Tour
An African-themed garden is among the six waterwise gardens open for this East County tour that also visits the two-acre St. Madeleine Sophie’s Organic Garden and Nursery. One garden hosts a craft sale.

Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tickets: $15 in advance; $18 on event day (for purchase at all tour gardens)
Information:, 619-442-8515

Ninth Annual Encinitas Garden Festival and Tour
Fifteen private gardens on this walking tour through a quaint neighborhood highlight mini-orchards, succulent landscapes and backyard chickens. A garden marketplace hosts food, garden and plant vendors and educational talks. Free off-site parking with shuttles to the marketplace.

Time: 10 a.m. to 4 :30 p.m.
Tickets: $23, $7 for child 10 and under. Advance ticket sales begin March 15. Event-day tickets are $30 ($10 for children 10 and under). Garden marketplace admission is free.

13th Annual Point Loma Garden Walk
Eight gardens, and some homes in the view-rich Fleetridge area of Point Loma are open for this tour to benefit Craniofacial Services at Rady Children’s Hospital. Enjoy outdoor entertainment areas, kid-friendly spaces, art-accented landscapes and city and bay vistas. Find artisan items and plants in the garden boutique.

Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets: $25; $150 for Dana Diamond Tour with shuttle and lunch in a bonus garden.

Ramona Garden Club Blooms, Boulders and Birds Tour
The 25-acre growing grounds of a Rancho Santa Fe nursery, two native-plant landscapes and the 10-acre garden of a former San Diego Charger are open for visits. Handcrafted garden accents and ornamental and edible plants will be for sale at Ramona Community Library, 1275 Main St.

Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tickets: $20
Information:, 760-789-1910

April 26-27 

89th Annual Coronado Flower Show
Enjoy floral displays, exhibits and entertainment at Spreckels Park and drive by winning front-yard gardens throughout the community.

Time: 1 to 5 p.m. April 26; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27.
Tickets: $5 (free for Coronado Floral Association members and children under 12)

April 27  

12th Annual Seaside Native Plant Garden Tour 
Plant experts and locals lead this 1.5-mile walking tour past 18 front-yard gardens in the historic Seaside neighborhood of downtown Oceanside. Lemonade and cookies are for sale along the way.

Time: 2 p.m. Tour goers meet at St. Mary’s School parking lot, 515 Wisconsin Ave., Oceanside.
Tickets: Free; donation requested for map and plant list
Information: 760-439-2473

May 2-4 

17th Annual Alpine Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour
Five owner-designed gardens debut on this tour sponsored by the educational nonprofit CHIRP for Garden Wildlife. Succulent and native landscapes, plus a sprawling edibles garden, are featured, along with bonus stops at a wildlife rehabilitation center and a place of worship’s winged wildlife garden.

Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets: $20 ($15 in advance of April 1); $10 per person for groups of 10 or more.
Information:, 619-445-8352 

May 10

16th Annual Mission Hills Beyond the Gate Garden Walk
This 2.5-mile walking tour stops at 10 gardens, large and small, that surround cottages and estates, some with spectacular views. Artists and musicians will be in residence. Tour includes a garden festival at Mission Hills Nursery with vendors, wine tasting and more.

Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (rain or shine)
Tickets: $25 in advance; $30 on tour day; free for children 12 and under

Fallbrook AAUW Country Garden Tour
A half-dozen gardens in this North County community will be open for visits. A marketplace and refreshments will be at the tour start, historic Palomares House at 1815 Stage Coach Lane. 

Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets: $20 in advance; $25 on tour day

May 10-11 

20th Anniversary Mother’s Day Weekend Art and Garden Tour
Eight gardens in Encinitas and Solana Beach include artwork displays by members of the San Dieguito Artist Guild, tour sponsors. Among them is a seaside succulent display and rambling Mediterranean landscape.

Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets: $20 (on sale April 7), children under 12 free
Information:, 760-942-3636

May 14

16th Annual Bonita Valley Garden Club Tour & Plant Sale
Six gardens on this South Bay tour showcase Earth-friendly landscapes with waterwise plants, lawn replacement, gray-water irrigation, solar-powered lighting and recycled hardscape and accents. One garden was a winner in the California Friendly Landscape Contest.

Time: May 14, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tickets: $15 in advance; $20 event day (for sale at Bonita/Sunnyside Library, 4375 Bonita Rd.) 
Information: 619-479-0429

May 17 

Clairemont Town Council 18th Annual Garden Tour
A dozen gardens, including one in a school, will be open in the San Diego neighborhoods of Clairemont, Bay Ho and Bay Park. An expo (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) includes seminars, children’s activities and refreshments for sale.

Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets: $12 ($10 for seniors) in advance (available in early April); $15 on tour day; children 12 and under free

16th Annual La Jolla Secret Garden Tour
Six gardens linked by the theme “The Changing Garden” showcase waterwise makeovers, a vineyard and tortoise-friendly family landscape. In addition to designer displays and musicians and artists in residence, this year’s tour also will host a garden boutique with plants and gifts. Platinum Tour includes brunch, shuttle and an extra garden.

Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets: $50 ($40 for members of the La Jolla Historical Society, tour sponsor); $60 on tour day. Platinum Tour $150 ($140 for LJHS members)

San Diego Floral Association Canyon Rims and Valley Views: Gardens of University Heights
Eight gardens in one of San Diego’s oldest neighborhoods will be open for visits for this event. Stops include a wildlife habitat, Craftsman cottage gardens and classic walled garden. Shop a garden marketplace at Old Trolley Barn Park, 1998 Adams Ave.

Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets: $20 in advance (purchase at or at area nurseries), $25 on event day
Information:, 619-232-5762 

Loma Portal Home & Garden Tour and Craft Faire
Visit five homes with unique architecture and view landscapes. Purchase garden accents and baked goods at the craft fair at Loma Portal Elementary School.

Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 on tour day
Information: 619-223-1683 

Mary James