Western Hills Garden is back
<MC>The legendary Western Hills Garden in Occidental will re-open to the public for Saturday tours on June 9, two years after it was rescued from foreclosure by new owners from the East Bay.
A team of volunteers has collectively devoted hundreds of hours a month to restoring the remarkable three acre botanical garden — part of the Western Hills Rare Plant Nursery — that drew the attention of horticulturists and collectors from around the world.
After installing an irrigation system, clearing away blackberries and other overgrowth, cleaning up the pond and restoring some important plants by drawing on cuttings from people who had purchased their plants at the old Western Hills Nursery, work is moving into a new phase.
More skilled volunteers are now being being recruited to help identify plants, properly prune rare plants, propagate, bring in new cultivars, act as docents and collaborate in other ways on efforts to make the garden an educational center and horticultural destination.
The garden will be open for tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and by appointment. Cost to visit is $9. It's located 16250 Coleman Valley Road, Occidental For information visit westernhillsgarden.com.
<MC2>Private gardens in Mendocino County will welcome visitors during the Garden Conservancy's Open Days weekend June 9 and 10.
Four gardens along the coast will be spotlighted on June 9, with the event moving inland to Anderson Valley on June 10.
Along the coast, there are four gardens to explore: the gardens around Digging Dog Nursery in Albion (31101 Middle Ridge Rd.), a garden on eight hours nestled among redwoods and surrounded by field and forest in Fort Bragg, the Gardens at Harmony Woods in Mendocino with serious collections of conifer and rhododendrons and the estate-style Frog Song Farm in Point Arena.
In Anderson Valley, garden lovers can visit Stoney Bottom, the retirement project of Walt Valen, who for years oversaw the San Francisco Botanical Garden; the English-style cottage gardens at The Madrones (9000 Highway 128, Philo), a collection of shops and winery tasting rooms, and Wildwood, a potager with a mixed shrub borer and a collection of magnolia and maples.
Cost is $5 per garden, payable at the gate. Visitors may also purchase discounted admission tickets in advance — 6 for $25 — at opendaysprogram.org or by calling 888-842-2442.
<MC2>Herbs are the most versatile of plants. They can be used medicinally, in cooking, and in body and skincare products. Or you can simply enjoy their beauty and fragrance.
The multi-purpose herb will be celebrated June 3 at the "All Things Herbal Faire and Plant Sale next to the Farmer's Market in the Sebastopol Town Plaza.
Pick up live herb plants, tinctures, cordials, dried herbs, health and skincare products, books, essences and more, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The event is a benefit for the Sonoma County Herb Exchange. For information visit sonomaherbs.org or call 664-0768.
SONOMA / HEALDSBURG
<MC2>You can take your pick from two home and garden tours in Sonoma County on Sunday.
The Sonoma County Master Gardeners' "Blooming Backyards" featuring five Healdsburg gardens all created and tended by devoted hands-on gardeners. The Sonoma Cottage & Garden Tour offers a peak into charming east Sonoma addresses.