No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour is looking ahead to sponsor a series of autumn events.
Though spring gardens bring everyone out to enjoy bright colors and new foliage, fall marks the best season to plant natives, motivating Kathy Kramer, tour coordinator, to plan this offseason series of activities.
"People have asked for some time to see fall gardens," she said. "So, for the first time, we're putting on these events."
The fall schedule includes a one-day native plant sale extravaganza and open garden day and eight small-group guided tours, with each focusing on a specific topic.
Oct. 7 marks the day for the plant sale and open garden day; attendance is with prior registration. On this day, eight locations, in Berkeley, Concord, Moraga, Oakland, Orinda, Richmond, San Lorenzo and San Pablo, will offer a great selection of hard-to-find natives for sale, just in time for fall planting. Experts will be on hand to answer questions.
Along with the plant sale, three private gardens will be open for viewing. These include one in Moraga, another in Orinda and the garden of Kathy Kramer and Mike May in San Pablo, marking the first time the tour coordinator has opened her garden for the tour.
As participants have come to expect from these well-planned events, garden talks will be held at several open garden and plant sale sites. In Berkeley, the UC Botanical Garden will offer free admission with tour tickets and will offer natives for sale as well as two garden talks with advance registration and docent-led tours of the California Native Area.
At Oakland's East Bay Wilds, Oakland residents can sign up for a free rain barrel, along with purchasing some of the 400 kinds of natives available at this nursery.
Each themed tour offers an in-depth study of a particular topic including a landscape designer's work; year-round color plant selection; gardening with nature; using gray water and rainwater; and removing lawns using sheet mulching.
"It's a nice, varied collection of gardening opportunities," Kramer said.
Fans of Liz Simpson, Kelly Marshall and Michael Thilgen can attend a "Meet the Designer" tour and spend the day visiting gardens each one has created.
For homeowners wanting to remove their lawns but unsure of the process, "Mow no Mo' " is a hands-on tour where gardeners learn "how to" by using their shovels to carry out the four necessary steps and then visit two other gardens to see the outcome. One session will feature Livermore gardens, a second, gardens in Lafayette and Concord. A water-wise tour in Berkeley focuses on how to install a gray water system, use the water in the garden and how to store and use rainwater.
Between the plant sale extravaganza, the open gardens and the select tours, it's obvious that fall is not an idle month for gardening, especially for those who want to open their outdoor spaces to wildlife-friendly, pesticide-free, environmentally beautiful native plants.
What: Fall Plant Sale Extravaganza and Open Garden Day
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 7
Online: Visit www.bringingbackthenatives.net/fall-plant-sale for registration and more information.
Select tours are offered on specific dates in September and October. Each runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and tickets are $30 per person per tour. Visit www.bringingbackthenatives.net/fall-select-tours for registration and more information.
Sept. 16: Mow no Mo' -- Livermore gardens
Sept. 23: Meet designer Liz Simpson -- Oakland, Pleasant Hill gardens
Sept. 29: Water-Wise Home and Garden -- Berkeley gardens
Sept. 30: Meet designer Kelly Marshall -- Walnut Creek, Concord, Clayton gardens
Oct. 14: Meet designer Michael Thilgen -- Castro Valley, San Leandro, Oakland gardens
Oct. 20: Designing Native Gardens for Year-round Color -- Castro Valley, Oakland gardens
Oct. 21: Mow no Mo' -- Lafayette and Concord gardens
Oct. 21: Gardening with nature in mind -- Walnut Creek gardens