Tom Butt
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  Upcoming, free native plant events! (One is this Sunday!)
February 2, 2024

Dear Friend of the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour and Green Home Features Showcase,

I’m writing to let you know about upcoming events for HOA/Condo/apartment dwellers; those of you interested in sharing native seeds and plants; provide details about the free talks that will be given in a variety of native plant nurseries during the next Extravaganza, and more. 

Free Native Plant Resource Team Activities and Upcoming Events (Join the Teams 
here to hear about the other events that are being organized.)

Recently The Tour started a new program, the Native Plant Resource Teams, to help connect people who are interested in native plants.  So far more than 300 people have joined the Teams: they’re interested in creating pollinator pathways, sharing seeds and plants, encouraging their city officials to incorporate more native trees into the urban landscape, and more. Team members have met in each others’ gardens and at parks, held pruning and other workshops, and are planning a number of upcoming fun and informative events.  We hope you’ll join us by joining the NPRT now.  Below are two of our upcoming, free events: 

Sunday, Feb. 4, 10:00-11:30 Zoom

HOA/condo/communal living situations—how to incorporate native plant gardens into them?  Three success stories
This discussion will focus on how to incorporate native plants into communal living situations, such as condominium complexes, HOAs, and retirement communities.

If you’re having difficulty getting traction for a native plant garden in your communal living situation, this meeting could be just the
inspiration you are looking for!  Join us to hear about three success stories—in a 1,300 unit, multi-building condo complex in Emeryville, a 15 unit condo complex in Alameda, and a retirement community in Oakland.  Join the Native Plant Resource Teams here and check the HOA box to receive the Zoom link and to make connections with others in your same situation.

Tuesday, Feb. 13, 6:00-7:30 Zoom

Sharing native seeds and plants
Join us to plan future seed and plant sharing events, such as cutting exchanges, propagation talks, and more.  The upcoming field trip to Larner Seeds is full, but another one is being planned.  Join the Native Plant Resource Teams here and check the Seed & Plant Exchange box to receive the Zoom link and information on future events.   

Saturday, Feb. 17, 10:00-4:00 in-person, outdoor talks and shopping 

Free talks in the nurseries during the Native Plant Extravaganza (see the website for addresses and talk descriptions).  A percentage of your purchases will go to support the Tour. 

Berkeley, Oaktown Native Plant Nursery

10:00 “Flowering Bulbs for the Garden” by Suzanne Carter, owner of Oaktown 

Oakland, East Bay Wilds Native Plant Nursery

10:30 – 1:30 Seed Giveaway: Jennifer Dirking (creator of those amazing Keystone Species signs) will have native gardening information and free packets of Larner Seeds Pollinator Wildflower Mix, while supplies last.
11:00 “Choosing the right native shrubs and trees for your garden” by Pete Veilleux, owner of East Bay Wilds
12:00 “Ten easy steps to creating a bird-friendly garden” by Jennifer Dirking

Richmond, Annie’s Annuals and Perennials

11:00 “Selecting native plants using Calscape” by Jessica Woodward, of the California Native Plant Society

Richmond, The Watershed Nursery

1:00 “Pollinators are in crisis: here’s how you can help” by Annina Puccio, Executive Director of the Monarch Milkweed Project
Registration for the upcoming Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour and Green Home Features Showcase is open!
Registration is open; check out the gardens and green homes that will be on this year’s Tour. (Check back: gardens are being added all the time.)

Videographers and electrification afficionados sought

We are looking for volunteers to make videos of home gardens, and also videos of electrified homes: these videos would be shown during the 2025 Tour.  Ideally, footage of the gardens should be taken fairly soon, and videoing would continue over the course of the year, so the gardens can be shown throughout the seasons.  Please contact us if you can help make next year’s online Tour a success!

We are also seeking volunteers who have some knowledge about, and affection for, heat pumps, induction ranges, solar panels, smart panels, or other electrification features, so we can open more green homes on May 4 and 5, the weekend of the Tour. We also need folks who are not so knowledgeable about electrification who will be stationed in the homes to ensure all goes smoothly.

If you can help us open more green homes on the weekend of the Tour, please register here, and fill out the volunteer section of the form.  Put a note in the Comments section of the form to let us know you would like to be assigned as an electrification volunteer to a green home.

Finally, we are seeking electrification-savvy volunteers to staff an electrified home event that will be held in West Contra Costa County on Sunday, March 10 from 10:30 – 3:00.  Please e-mail Kathy Kramer at if you can help out.

Will you help support the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour?

If you enjoy the Tour, please make a donation now; we rely upon contributions from people like you to keep goingYou can help ensure the tour and our many native plant and electrification-promoting activities continue to run by making a donation with your credit card or PayPal here, through Venmo @BringingBacktheNatives, or you can mail a check to:

Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour
1718 Hillcrest Road
San Pablo  CA  94806

Would you take just a moment to speak up for environmental protection?

Now is the time to speak up and support the ban of neonicotinoids. These pesticides have been linked to pollinator declines, particularly with regard to bees. Newly-proposed state regulation would ban the use of these pesticides on land managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, including wildlife areas and ecological reserves.  It will take less than a minute to sign the Center for Food Safety’s letter.  I have just done this, and hope you will, too.

Wrapping up

YouTube – Check out the Tour’s YouTube channel, which contains more than 100 videos on gardening with California native plants, as well as videos on green home features such as heat pumps, induction stoves, solar panels, and more. Subscribe to be notified when new videos are uploaded. 

This morning I posted photos of some of the beautiful gardens you can visit on this year’s Tour: I hope you check them out.  Visit and follow us on Facebook to see featured gardens, read about native plants (and more!).

Kathy Kramer
Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour Coordinator
(510) 236-9558
Visit the Garden Tour on Facebook