The 9th annual Alameda County self-guided Bay-Friendly Garden Tour will be held April 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
According to the event's website, this year’s public and private host gardens represent the many different styles of "Bay-Friendly". You will find urban homesteads with orchards, chickens and bees, greywater installations by local experts, and drought tolerant replacements for water thirsty lawns.
The host gardeners themselves are a diverse group that includes permaculturists, native plant enthusiasts, do-it-yourselfers, professional landscapers, wildlife gardeners and urban food growers who are happy to share their gardens and talk about their accomplishments and challenges.
You can register up until April 20 here or call 510-859-8026 for more information. Registration is required to receive directions and garden descriptions. Cost per guide book is $10.
The Bay Friendly Landscaping and Gardening Coalition's website describes the the seven principles of Bay Friendly Gardening as follows:
Landscape Locally recognizes that built landscapes are a part of the larger ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay watershed and that they can contribute to it’s health if designed and maintained using sustainable practices.
Landscape for Less to the Landfill means that we should reduce waste by choosing the right plants, avoiding invasive plant species, using recycled and salvaged products in the landscape and by composting, mulching and grasscycling plant debris.
Nurture the Soil soils are living ecosystems and when landscape practices allow the soil food web to thrive it can filter pollution, store water, provide plant nutrients, and help plants resist pests naturally.
Conserve Water means using a holistic approach of creating drought resistant soils with compost and mulch, selecting plants naturally adapted to summer-dry climates, using stormwater, greywater and recycled water in the landscape as much as possible and using efficient irrigation systems that include self adjusting, weather-based controllers.
Conserve Energy by reducing the need for mowing and shearing, by shading buildings and paved areas, using efficient outdoor lighting, and buying local landscape products.
Protect Water & Air Quality through maximizing permeable surfaces and minimizing stormwater runoff, using integrated pest management, minimizing the use of synthetic pesticides and avoiding overuse of fertilizers, reducing fossil fuel consumption, and planting trees to remove CO2 and absorb air pollutants.
Create Wildlife Habitat recognizes that biodiversity is crucial to the health of natural ecosystems and that by using native plants and increasing the diversity of plant palettes, our built landscape can provide food, water and shelter for birds, butterflies, beneficial insects and other creatures.