Garden tours a lively reminder of spring fever

Russell and Cindy Pike surrounded dymondia with bright colors in their Clayton front yard.

Garden tours a lively reminder of spring fever

Garden lovers can take in all that spring can offer the weekend of May 3-5, with several Clayton and Concord gardens on display on two garden tours.

Clayton Valley Gardens Tour
When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 3-4. Garden Party, 4-5:30 p.m. May 3.
Where: Pick up tour brochure at Clayton Museum, 6101 Main St., on tour days.
Tickets: $35 in advance at museum or R&M Pool, Patio and Gardens, 6780 Marsh Creek Road, Clayton. Or at $40 at the door; $15 extra for Garden Party.

Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 5
Where: 37 gardens in Alameda and Contra Costa counties
Tickets: Pre-register at or 510-236-9558. Donations requested; $10 garden guide.

Garden tours a lively reminder of spring fever
Russell and Cindy Pike surrounded dymondia with bright colors in their Clayton front yard.

The Clayton Valley Gardens Tour features five Clayton yards bursting with color. Daisy-shaped flowers open each morning with a kaleidoscope of color in Marj and Howard Glazier’s front yard. Roses, mums, geraniums and Santa Barbara daisies fill garden beds bordered by zonal geraniums.

Jim and MaryAnn Laurence’s garden has a traditional frontage, but a Mediterranean experience awaits through the garden gate. A stacked stone wall lines the creeping fig covered fence, while campanula and various colored sedum accent boulders.

Three years ago, Russell and Cindy Pike replaced their front grass with dymondia. The lawn substitute thrives in the hot Clayton sun, surrounded by sea lavender, lantana, multiple colors of carpet roses and ornamental grasses.

Peace and privacy come to mind as you stroll Rod and Becky Overstreet’s wonderful landscape. It took Rod three years to build the hand-stacked rock retaining wall. A pathway leads to the rear, where whimsical garden art embellishes the surrounding hillside.

Rows of roses fills the front of Ian and Tammy Peacock’s corner lot, which has an extensive front and side yard. The Peacocks aren’t afraid of color, and they widely plant and decorate their landscape.

A native experience

Garden tours a lively reminder of spring fever
Native fuschia draws ­hummingbirds to gardens on the native plant tour. (David Harper photo)

Tour-goers will find four Clayton and Concord gardens on the 15th annual Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour, which focuses on yards that are pesticide-free and water conserving, provide habitat for wildlife and contain 60 percent or more native plants.

Clayton resident Nancy Niemeyer intertwined her interests in nature and archaeology in her ancient Roman style garden. The rectangular courtyard, planted with a riot of colorful natives, leads past art pieces, a fountain and pedestals.

Clayton residents Kelly Marshall and Mike Weidner transformed their front lawn into a native plant haven for wildlife. In the back, they created a drought-tolerant meadow with a small waterfall and shallow bog that provides water to a variety of garden creatures.

Lauren Kindorf of Clayton received a $1,000 rebate from the Contra Costa Water District to help transform her lawn into a garden. Four types of manzanita provide structure and greenery throughout the year, delighting hummingbirds and native bees.

Inspired by the native garden tour, Concord resident Laura Spain sheet-mulched her lawn away to make a habitat for wildlife. With the new plants providing pollen and nectar, 15 species of birds, native bees and butterflies visit the garden.