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UC Cooperative Extension
1432 Abbott Street
Salinas, CA 93901


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Monterey Bay Master Gardeners is a non-profit 501(c)(3) program supporting the work of the UC Master Gardeners of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties program.

2022 Garden Tour

2022 UC Master Gardener Garden Tour - NextDoor 700x240

Saturday, June 11 | 10 am - 4 pm

Santa Cruz County (Live Oak to Aptos)

UC Master Gardeners of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties are delighted to host our 20th garden tour!

This self-guided tour features 10 beautiful, water-wise and pollinator-friendly garden habitats in Santa Cruz County, from suburban homesteads and peaceful sanctuaries to a tropical oasis for friends and family to gather. Get inspired by the variety of ways your neighbors have managed their water use while cultivating bountiful and nature-friendly gardens.

Each ticket purchase includes access to two bonus pre-recorded garden tour video.

Smiling Soil Regenerative Garden

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In only two years, this garden transformed from a gopher-ridden abandoned lawn into a young regenerative food forest and wildlife habitat. On just 1/10 acre, today this property supports over a dozen fruit trees, a 500-gallon rain harvesting system with a water-overflow pond, deck, pergola, greenhouse, and a fence--primarily made from upcycled (free!) materials. 

Edible Adventure Garden

This kid-friendly, vegetable-growing, wildlife-focused garden has something for every adventurer! With features like a mud kitchen, tiny farm, herbal tea beds, chickens, drought-tolerant perennials, three rain barrels, a log stump obstacle course, outdoor dining and living spaces, and over a dozen fruit trees that are pruned annually to maintain “backyard" size, you are sure to find something to inspire you. Only four years ago, this garden was nothing more than a huge lawn with three established fruit trees along the fence. Now it is a tapestry of beautiful drought-tolerant plants with purpose. Every plant feeds either birds, insects or humans. The garden is watered with drip irrigation, rainwater, shower water and a lot of kitchen water, such as the water that fruits and veggies are rinsed in. 

Inch by Inch Homestead

Come see an example of how the historic “flag lots” of Live Oak (double-deep parcels that were often old chicken ranches) are being renovated into small family homesteads. This half-acre lot has been transformed into a food producing mini-farm, “inch by inch.”  They now have over 20 fruit trees, berry bushes, vegetable beds, drought-tolerant perennials, chickens and a pond along with a 5,000-gallon water catchment system.

Pine Street Permaculture Paradise

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Note: Steep terrain and with steps and sloping paths.

After getting permission from the landlord, this garden has evolved over 10 years to fill the available space into an edible oasis with raised wooden beds treated with shou sugi ban, a charring technique used in Japan to preserve wood, dry-stacked stone borders, and a rustic fence made  with branches. The sloped area between the driveway and redwoods has become a food forest with fruit trees, and swales to manage water flow. This permaculture garden, complete with a small greenhouse, tidy compost system and chickens, is partially irrigated with a 900-gallon rain harvesting tank.

Tropical Beach Bungalow

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Only a few blocks away from great surfing, this garden features a small, low maintenance and low water-use garden with a tropical theme. These gardeners reduced the front lawn by 40% to just a small patch (to lay their surfboards on) and surrounded it with drought-tolerant South African and Australian plants. Tucked in the back, a large gathering space welcomes family dining and lounging, surrounded by cannas, ginger, bananas and more, evoking the feeling of being on a tropical lanai. A signature water feature adds a soothing, calming feel to this magical garden. With drip irrigation and careful plant selection, they have created “lush” without the high water use.


Note: Steep terrain and with steps and sloping paths.

Welcome to the sunny relaxation of Shangri-La on a hillside overlooking a park, designed by this gardener to incorporate multiple spots for rest and reflection. Climb the steps of the terraced front garden to a hammock, a lounge chair, or the cozy pergola. Wherever you settle, you'll be surrounded by a variety of drought-tolerant proteas, grevilleas, and other flowering perennials attracting a bevy of birds, bees, and butterflies. But there's more--don't miss the bountiful fruit tree orchard behind the house.

Garden of Dreams

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This artist/gardener created a dream-like garden with beautiful mosaics and sculptures around every corner. Swirling lines, bold and vivid colors, garden art, benches, arches, and trellises will inspire ideas and creativity from every garden tour participant. See what can be created by taking out a lawn, saving water with drought-tolerant plants, mostly drip irrigation, greywater and rain barrels. She sees the garden as an extension of her artwork, and considers it an ongoing work in progress.

Hidden Beach Sanctuary

At Hidden Beach Sanctuary, the front and back yards have been designed to create beautiful and private outdoor living environments requiring low-water usage and low maintenance. Through a unique blue pelican glass gate, you enter a private courtyard where a fountain, artwork, and a colorful garden welcome you. The backyard garden features a sunny lavender display, pollinator plants, and another beautiful fountain. Learn how they recycle their hot tub water into rain barrels for the garden’s fountains.

Hillside Hideaway

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This garden is hidden away at the edge of an riparian arroyo not far from the ocean. Filled with fruit trees, edible shrubs, drought-tolerant perennials and native plants, it provides color and food throughout the year.  Over 25 years, they have brought in more than 50 truckloads of chips to turn heavy clay dirt into rich healthy soil. Explore their distinct “rooms” - a shady corner with pine, redwood and ferns; an open patio surrounded by citrus and grapes; and a centerpiece hill with proteas, lemons, milkweed and salvias.

Arroyo Oasis

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A few paces up the same arroyo pathway from the Hillside Hideaway, this neighboring garden is an oasis from the crowded townhouses nearby. Slowly enriching the same hard clay soil as her neighbors, the garden has grown in increments, focusing on a wide range of drought-tolerant plants in the upper part of the garden, and natives in the lower section that abuts the arroyo. Her garden is filled with bees, hummingbirds and butterflies this time of year. Nearby trees create a perfect environment for a shade garden, while vegetable beds take center stage to get the most sunshine.