UC Master Gardeners of Monterey & Santa Cruz Counties
University of California
UC Master Gardeners of Monterey & Santa Cruz Counties

Garden Tour 2017 - Saturday, September 9th, 10 am to 4 pm

Wildlife Friendly & Water Wise Gardens of Santa Cruz

1. Tour Headquarters: Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, 1305 E Cliff Dr.

Located across from Seabright Beach, the Garden Learning Center at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is focused on cultivating and promoting California native plants. Willows line the edges of Pilkington Creek, alongside elderberry, sage, mimulus, evening primrose, and many other natives. The pollinator garden draws western tiger swallowtails, Anna's hummingbirds, native bees, and honey bees from the Museum's two demonstration hives. Education programs in the garden focus on the ethnobotany of the native people of Santa Cruz and their uses of soaproot, douglas iris, manzanita, and more. 

2. Gibson Garden, 1445 N. Branciforte Avenue

Designed with the English Garden style in mind, this North Branciforte Avenue garden is landscaped with many Mediterranean, drought tolerant, and native plants. This magical property also features a serene pond and bridge inspired by Monet's Garden at Giverny. An elaborate water collection system is another highlight, in which up to 20,000 gallons of water is stored in a series of cisterns used for irrigation in dry months.





3. Cozza Garden, 214 Vista Bella Drive

Situated in a redwood grove just above Branciforte Creek, this location combines the best of two gardening worlds. The front hints of a Japanese garden, incorporating large rocks, lanterns, moss, and mature rhododendrons and azaleas. A winding pathway behind the home drops down to a lower woodland garden with lush ferns and native plants scattered among camellias and more rhododendrons, leading to a restful spot overlooking the creek. The creek and riparian habitat support myriad wildlife including fish, deer, racoons, squirrels, and many birds.


4. Pollock/Primack Garden, 136 Yosemite Avenue

Perched on the oak-lined rim of Arroyo Seco Canyon, the garden is frequented by coyotes, bobcats, hawks, and monarchs. This Westside enclave and garden, designed for and by a landscape architect and her architect husband, reflects their 25-year commitment to place-making in Santa Cruz. Courtyards provide private outdoor rooms with views to the canyon. Public spaces incorporate edibles and artifacts of local history, from the Cooper House to the World Famous Tree Circus. Espaliers, pleached and pollarded Plane trees, a rooftop garden, and a laundry garden, all bear witness to well lived-in spaces.



5. Josephson Garden, 119 Effey Street

Serious sub-tropical! A large boulder surrounding a pond, with exotic landscaping both in the water and on the periphery. Featuring established palms and ferns, California native plants, and unique garden art, this garden is full of surprises.







6. McNamara Garden, 106 Rockridge Lane

The sunny south-facing front yard of this lovely home once featured a large, thirsty lawn, now replaced with low-water flowering perennials and an abundance of California native plants. A fenced rose garden tucked in the side yard adds a cottage feel. In the back yard, native plants in cool tones surround a bubbling fountain and circular patios create subtly separated seating areas to read a book, dine, or socialize with friends.


7. Hanson Garden, 525 Meder Street

Located at the edge of Santa Cruz, down a long tree-lined drive, this ocean view garden sits on almost two acres. It is terraced with ponds and orchards, a cross between wild and manicured. The many mature fruit trees will be the highlight here, but there are many other features to delight the eye. 

Parking for the Hanson Garden is across Meder Street on Refugio Road. Follow the signs and walk down the long drive to the garden.



8. Gateway School Garden, 126 Eucalyptus Avenue

A place for science, eating, and learning, this quarter-acre garden classroom is located steps from West Cliff Drive, Steamers Lane, and Lighthouse Field. Here students grow vegetables, grains, ornamentals, and fruit trees, offering them an opportunity to trace their food’s origins from around the world. In the fall, students plant a “salad in a box”; in spring the students plant a Three Sisters garden (corn, beans, and squash), wheat, gourds, and different varieties of corn. There are also compost bins, a greenhouse, a large water catchment system, and a pollinator hedge, among other interesting features.





$30 day of tour available at garden locations and the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Free Events at the Museum


Bringing Nature Back to Tyrrell Park
featuring Nancy Lenz


Learn how a handful of neighbors teamed up with the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History and city's Parks and Recreation Department to transform a creekside jungle of invasive ivy, blackberry and mattress wire vine into a pollinator and California native plant haven. Discover how they revitalized an overgrown tangle into a natural learning garden.
Rewilding Urban Coastal Habitat
featuring Bill Henry
Noon - 1 pm
Bill Henry is an ecologist and director of Groundswell Coastal Ecology, a local NGO that builds healthy coastal communities through education and community-based ecological restoration. Groundswell is spearheading the Santa Cruz movement to restore functional coastal habitat within our urban footprint. He will speak about the ecology and restoration of coastal ecosystems, our potential coastal ecological build-out and steps for moving forward.
Creating Wildlife Friendly Gardens
featuring Tai Moses
1pm - 2pm
Tai Moses is a Santa Cruz author and editor whose work focuses on the connection between humans and animals. Her book, Zooburbia: Meditations On The Wild Animals Among Us, examines "the extraordinary, unruly, half-wild realm where human and animal lives overlap." Tai is at the vanguard of the movement to protect native wildlife in our communities and has recommendations for how to make your garden a safe habitat for our wild neighbors.

Plant Sale

Open to all!! Ticket holders and non-ticket holders can select from over 800 plants propagated by Master Gardeners. Plants available for sale at great prices. Don't miss out on this opportunity to add to your garden. The anticipated attendees of the illustrious garden sale will be:

  • Salvias: Spathacea, Pozo Blue, Wendy's wish, Ember's wish, and Leucantha (mexican sage).
  • Three types of Aeonium and Sedum.
  • A gardeners' staple, Achillea millefolium, as well as it's more showy sister Achillea 'colorado mix'.
  • Two kinds of Buddleia: Black knight and Buzz lavender.
  • Tried and true favorites like: Pelargonium, Alstromeria, Epilobium, Aloe, and Digitalis!
  • Lovely combo succulent pots as well as a limited number of larger pots with butterfly bushes and mints!
  • And many more surprises . . .


Participate in a chance to win!! Raffle tickets can be purchased at any of the gardens or the Museum: $5 each, or 6 for $20. Prizes include:

3 Night Stay in a Gorgeous Tahoe Cabin ($1,300 value)

UC Master Gardener Consultation ($150 value)
- Includes a 2-hour consultation with a Master Gardner, $25 Garden Company gift certificate, and a soil testing kit from Perry Laboratories in Watsonville

Wheelbarrow full of Garden Goodies ($150 value)
- Win this workhorse of a wheelbarrow, filled with garden tools, pretty garden-themed kitchen towels, and a potted plant!




$30 day of tour available at garden locations and the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

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