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Oh, my aching muscles...

The "Wine and Roses" Tour

Lorene and Mary would love to have you join us as we visit some spectacular gardens and nurseries in late September. The weather in the Bay Area is beautiful then, and the summer vacationers have gone home.

Below is an outline of our itinerary for the week. We may find another private garden or two to add to the itinerary—but here are the high points of our tour:

Sunday, September 28

We depart Seattle from SeaTac International Airport, arrive in San Francisco and transfer to our hotel. We plan to stay in Berkeley, as many of the places we are going to visit are northeast of San Francisco. After lunch on your own, there is the option of having the afternoon free or visiting the Marcia Donahue garden. This private garden is part of The Yard Art Project, a group that seeks out gardens with unusual ornamentation. The Donahue garden features a number of whimsical creations. In the evening, we’ll kick off our tour with a hosted dinner.

Monday, September 29

After breakfast (on your own), we will spend the morning and early afternoon taking in the various sights at Golden Gate Park, including: the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum, the De Young Museum, the Aids Memorial Grove and the Conservatory of Flowers. We will enjoy a box lunch (included) at one of the gardens. In the afternoon, we’ll head off to one of San Francisco’s funkiest nurseries, Flora Grubb Gardens. Flora Grubb specializes in palms and drought-tolerant plants for Mediterranean climate gardens. We then head back to our hotel; you are free for the evening.

Tuesday, September 30

After breakfast (on your own) we will visit Ruth Bancroft’s garden in Walnut Creek. In early September, Mrs. Bancroft celebrates her 100th birthday. She began gardening on the property in 1950, and got her first succulent in the 1950s. She developed a passion for succulents and drought-tolerant plants in subsequent years. in 1971, her husband cut down the last walnut orchard on the property, and Ruth constructed a three-acre garden to house her growing succulent collection. We will again enjoy a box lunch (included), and after we eat we will set out for Annie’s Annuals, a nursery that has gained a national reputation in a few short years. When we have had our fill of Annie’s unusual offerings, we can drop you at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market or return you to the hotel for an evening on your own.

Wednesday, October 1

After breakfast (on your own), we check out of our hotel, board our van, and set out on Highway 101 for wine country. Our first stop is Matanzas Creek Winery, where, in addition to being a beautiful vineyard, there is a lavender field and billowing perennial gardens. From the winery we head off for Western Hills nursery, a nursery and 40-year-old garden that has recently been acquired by new owners. (Again, we’ll enjoy a box lunch. ) We hop back on Highway 101 and continue north to the little town of Healdsburg, where we will check into our hotel. If there’s time, you can visit The Gardener, a cute nursery in Healdsburg. You’re on your own for the evening.

Thursday, October 2

We begin the day at COPIA, the American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts, located in Napa. With extensive culinary and ornamental gardens and an on-site restaurant, we will have a memorable morning. After a short orientation, you are free to explore the gardens as a group, or individually. We will enjoy lunch at the COPIA Cafe (on your own) and regroup at the van after we eat. We will meander north stopping at wineries and in Calistoga for some sight-seeing before returning to our hotel.

Friday, October 3

We will check out of our hotel in Healdsburg, and head back down the highway to Sonoma. Our first stop is at Cornerstone Festival of Gardens, described as “an ever-changing series of walk-through gardens, showcasing new and innovative designs from the world’s finest landscape architects and designers.” Featuring four acres of gardens, we will explore this wonderland and then break for lunch as a group (included). In the afternoon we will visit a private garden or winery, and make our way back to Berkeley. We will check into our hotel; then regroup for our farewell dinner.

Saturday, October 4

We check out of our hotel and (depending on what time our flight is) we can either browse Berkeley for a couple of hours, or go directly to the airport to return to Seattle.

The price of the tour is $1928 per person with double occupancy. If you would like to have a room to yourself, there is a small additional charge for the hotel. The tour includes airfare from Seattle to San Francisco and back; ground transportation (we will have a large Dodge Sprinter van with a cargo area); four lunches and two dinners.

We think the tour will be great fun, and hope you can join us! Please feel free to contact us with questions.

Lorene Edwards Forkner & Mary Gutierrez

c/o Northwest Garden News

PO Box 18313

Seattle, WA  98118


E-mail Mary for more information.

The Conservatory of Flowers

We will stay in Berkeley, for easy access to nurseries and gardens in the Bay Area.

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