How do I submit my garden to be included in the Tour?

Important: the submission deadline for the Growing Natives Garden Tour 2025 is Tue, Oct 29, 2024, 11:59 pm.


The 2025 Growing Natives Garden Tour will showcase gardens with 70% or more California native plants. These gardens provide habitat for wildlife, conserve water, and are free of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Visitors can see that beautiful native plant gardens are possible for everyone because the gardens range from small townhome gardens to multi-acre lots in the country side and include sun, shade, clay, sand, and many other conditions.

Why Growing Natives Garden Tour?

We want to

  1. Inspire visitors to include California natives in their gardens.

  2. Show that healthy, attractive gardens can flourish without the use of chemicals.

  3. Encourage visitors to make their gardens attractive to both humans and wildlife such as birds, butterflies and pollinators.

Can I Submit My Garden?

Please evaluate your garden before you submit it. You garden must meet these requirements:

  1. Located in San Mateo County or Santa Clara County.

  2. There is sufficient parking nearby and the area is safe for pedestrians.

  3. At least 70% of the plants are California natives.

  4. Note: you can submit only part of your garden, for example, only your front garden or only your back garden. If you do, 70% of the garden you submit must be California natives.

  5. Native plants are focal points in the garden and their presence dominates the garden design.

  6. No invasive plants. The garden selection committee uses the list from the CAL-IPC  Invasive Plant Inventory.

  7. Interesting design. While the garden selection committee sometimes accepts collector’s gardens, they look for sound garden design principles. We want to inspire visitors and hope they can learn from the designs they see. The committee always includes at least one professional garden designer.

  8. Good housekeeping. The committee expects to see a garden that is fairly tidy, free from weeds, and not in a state of construction when they come for the evaluation visit. We’ll let you know in advance so you can prepare.

  9. You must accept a waiver of liability (this is required by the tour sponsors).

  10. You must have an email address and must be willing to use email to participate in tour communications.

  11. Note: you may designate another person, e.g., your garden’s designer, to handle most of the communications. If you do so, you will receive copies of all email we send to the designated person.

What are the benefits of having your garden be on the Growing Natives Garden Tour?

  1. Experience the joy of sharing your love of native plants and your garden with others to inspire them.

  2. Participate in your local native plant community – meet others who share your passion.

  3. Receive free T-shirts, for you and your greeters and docents, with a unique artistic drawing of a native plant/flower – new design each year!

  4. Your garden gets its very own webpage online with a description, photos, and a plant list. The garden webpages stay online forever, but addresses can be seen only by the registered visitors and only during the two weeks prior to the tour.

  5. All tour gardens receive a one-time gift of 100 free plant labels, complete with high-quality stakes and label holders. Plant labels are printed from your plant list, thus making plant labeling fun and easy (see the Label Assembly page). Additional plant labels are available at cost ($1 each) to GNGT garden owners.

How Can I Apply?

You can apply using the Garden Submission Form. Click here to go to that form. We select gardens from applicants that meet tour criteria and best demonstrate good design and natural garden.

If we don’t select your garden, it might be due to GNGT-specific criteria that do not necessarily reflect on the quality of the garden.

What Happens After I Apply?

The garden selection committee will schedule a visit to your garden. We don’t expect that your garden will look its best when we visit – many visits happen in late fall; however, we want to evaluate the design, California natives, habitat qualities, and care of the garden. Prior to the visit, we will ask you for a list of plants in your garden. We often come on a weekday, but you do not have to be home. If you are home, we can often tell you right away whether your garden has been accepted. If you are not home at the time of our visit, we’ll send you an email and explain our decision.

If accepted, how do I prepare for tour day?

We advertise the tour in local papers and other publications, through the Internet, and through social media such as blogs and Facebook. Visitors register for the tour through the website. All garden visitors accept a waiver of liability. Two weeks before the tour, we make the garden information (addresses and directions) available to registered participants. We ask visitors to respect the garden owner’s privacy, to visit only on the designated tour day between 10AM and 4PM, and to schedule restroom breaks at public facilities.

Before tour day, garden owners label the California natives in their garden and get the garden ready. The tour committee helps with advice on garden preparation and provides up to 100 high quality plant labels at no cost (some assembly required, see the Label Assembly page). Additional labels over 100 can be provided at our cost ($1 each). A few weeks before tour day, representatives from each garden meet to learn about tour day and to pick up signs and handouts for tour day.

On tour day, each garden must have one or more greeters and one or more docents. Greeters sign in visitors and answer basic questions. Docents can answer questions about the California natives in the garden. We encourage garden owners to find greeters and docents for their garden. Many hosts enjoy being docents, sharing their knowledge, and receiving the compliments for their gardens. If you are unable to recruit docents and greeters for your garden, then with sufficient advance notice and permission from the garden owner, the GNGT committee will provide docents to serve as hosts. While garden owners are not required to provide restroom access to visitors, allowing your docents and greeters to use bathroom facilities is appreciated.


If you have questions that are not answered on this page, email