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
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