Garden Tour A Success


Last updated 3/29/2024 at 11:43am

The annual Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association's Garden Tour sold a whopping 657 tickets this year, coming close to a record of 780 from the great bloom year of 2019.

Betsy Knaak, ABDNHA Executive Director, says it was a great year with their print, online and media advertising and publicity to lend a hand in its success, on top of the flowers and weather cooperating with the tour.

Five private gardens were featured in this year's event. Some significant or interesting features in gardens included:

Sabal palms, which have a smooth edge to the leaf stem rather than the razor sharp teeth on the edge of the stem.

Extensive life-time collections of artifacts from cultures throughout the Americas.

Grotto-like pool with waterfall, rocks, and view.

Owner's artwork throughout the garden along with an open art studio.

Most of the owners have been working on and improving their gardens since they owned their property.

Garden goers were treated to a home with multiple types of palm trees including Sabal and Bismarck along with Black Locust, Pine and a range of a small citrus orchard. Others were fascinated by a "Pirates of the Caribbean" canon, as well as a mix of metal sculptures and native artifacts.

There were also beautiful artworks of mosaic and colorful glass, with desert-adapted plants like fairy duster, cactus and an Australian pine. Another homeowner also showcased their designed Southwestern style home with a terra-cotta courtyard and desert plants mixed with fun yard art.

Sometimes newer owners were attracted to the property in part because of the plants and landscape, and then continue to care for it and enhance it with additional plants, paths, yard art, shade structures, ponds, and/or outdoor seating and entertainment areas.

Over 60 people are involved in planning and implementing the Garden Tour, plus the garden homeowners themselves, who are so kind, generous, and supportive of this event.

"We have a core planning committee of about 10 who meet throughout the year to select the gardens, communicate with the garden owners, coordinate volunteers, arrange for printed and online marketing, prepare publicity, implement ticket sales, arrange signage, create maps, and manage the actual tour day," Knaak said.

"Approximately 50 – 55 volunteers serve as docents the day of the tour, with head docents having additional responsibilities. Nature Center staff and volunteers sell tickets, and coordinate sales and information at the Nature Center on the very busy day of the tour. A few days after the tour, we meet to analyze how everything went and what we want to do differently. Then we start thinking about the gardens for the next year!"

For both residents and visitors, it's a very fun event, which people look forward to every year. It really showcases Borrego Springs.

"Most of all, we couldn't do it without the kind and giving garden tour homeowners and each and everyone of the many generous people who help us," she said.

Missed the Garden Tour? Don't fret, as the 2025 Garden Tour is set for March 15. Subject to changes.

If an owner is interested in having their garden on the garden tour next year are encouraged to contact the ABDNHA office, 760-767-3052. From there, they will arrange to come see the garden.

"Each year we try to feature a variety of gardens, such as larger and smaller, and like to include a couple open homes or walk-throughs if possible," Knaak said.

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