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Celebrating Natives – Garden Tours

June 23, 2018 @ 12:00 pm EDT - 4:00 pm EDT


From paths and pocket gardens to borders and backyards, native plant gardens are a growing trend! Join the Ecological Landscape Alliance (ELA) as we Celebrate Native Plants at designer-guided and homeowner-guided tours of public and private gardens that celebrate the beauty and ecosystem value of native plants and ecological practices.

These ELA Eco-tours will:

  • Feature gardens designed entirely or primarily with native plants.
  • Educate attendees about the increasing options and applications for native plants.
  • Demonstrate that native plant gardens can be beautiful as well as functional.
  • Share insights into native plant combinations and gardening techniques.
  • Discuss strategies for transforming sections of lawn into a biodiverse landscape.
  • Promote native plant gardens as a safe haven for birds, butterflies, and native pollinators.
  • Answer questions about native plants and habitat restoration.

Thanks to generous homeowners, landscape designers, and area organizations, ELA invites you to join us for inspiration and education on these special tours to native plant gardens.

Pre-registration to each garden is required. Some gardens have limited access, so register early. Registration is at the very bottom of the page.

Additional gardens are being added to the tour. Check back soon to  learn about new gardens and register for additional tours of interest.

Andover, MA
Landscape Designer’s Private Home

Beginning in 2009 when he purchased this property in Andover, MA, this landscape designer began removing lawn and non-native plantings and started replacing them with native and edible plantings. Eight years later, the front lawn has been completely removed and replaced with native shrubs, native grasses, and perennials including Achillea, Echinacea, Helianthus, and more. The landscape includes over 150 species of native plants, a streambank restored with native species, and a large area for vegetables.

The landscape designer/homeowner will be on hand for tours and to answer questions.

Conway, MA
Landscape Architects Private Botanic Gem

Located near the center of Conway, MA, this .8 acre property has been developed as a mini botanic garden. Pollinators are plentiful at this garden that features a curated collection of native plants of the rich woods association; abundant pollinator and wildlife habitat in a garden of paths; stormwater management ponds; low energy expenditure maintenance; small-scale productivity; and a learning yard to entertain children and adults. The property (created by two landscape architect/owners) includes 29 species of canopy trees, 13 understory tree species, 26 shrub species, 7 types of vines, 130 herbaceous species, 16 ferns, and more than 17 grasses and sedges.
The landscape designer/homeowner will be available for tours and to answer questions. Tours are available on the hour and must be ticketed in advance. Please register below.

Dennis, MA
Nonprofit Organization Landscape

Established in 1968, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) is a non-profit science-based advocacy organization with a mission to preserve, protect, and enhance the natural resources of Cape Cod. In 2016, APCC found a home in Dennis where the grounds of APCC’s new office serve as a Living Landscape Laboratory to display ecological land care principles and native plants appropriate for Cape Cod. Cape Cod is a fragile land of unique habitats and sensitive natural resources. The use of native plants is the healthiest landscape choice to protect these habitats.
APCC staff will be available to answer questions. For this garden, please register at: Association to Preserve Cape Cod

Melrose, MA
Lawn-Free Gardens – Professionally Designed, Private Residence
Laurel Garden Design / Darcy Paige and Kerry O’Kelly

These ecologically-minded homeowners wanted a lawn-free, native front garden that passersby could enjoy. The garden on the left is a tiny woodland garden and on the right is a more full sun selection of plants including a native clematis that cascades down the retaining wall.


Melrose, MA
Habitat Commitment Using Natives
Professionally Designed, Private Residence
Laurel Garden Design / Darcy Paige

The homeowners at this residence are devoted to the propagation, use, and promotion of native plants. They use mostly straight species and very few cultivars. This conscious garden design choice is so that the wildlife in the area can thrive to the fullest. Darcy Paige at Laurel Garden Design designed the initial layout and plant list, organizing it into distinct areas: Prairie Edge and Woodland Edge. After the initial design, the homeowners expanded the original plan.


Melrose, MA
Front and Side Yard Makeover – Private Residence
Laurel Garden Design / Darcy Paige

These homeowners wanted to remove their front and side lawns and create a garden that would support wildlife, engage passersby, and be a place of contemplation for the owners. Designer Darcy Paige chose mostly native plants, with the exception of some favorite exotics requested by the homeowners. The stepping stone pathway is built from Massachusetts Goshen stone and the “surprise Fountain” was designed and built by the homeowner.

Note: the backyard garden is not primarily native but visitors are welcome to tour that part of the property as well.


Needham, MA
Landscape Designer’s Private Home

As this landscape designer moved into her Needham home 10 years ago, she started to remove lawn and create garden beds. Each bed showcases some of the most beautiful, beneficial and sustainable native plants. She eagerly anticipates each season’s “show” which begins with the late winter blooming Hamamelis, followed by the early spring Serviceberry with gorgeous white flowers to welcome in the new season. As a Certified Native Plant Designer and Horticulturalist, she emphasizes ecologically sound ideas that include great textures, colors and a variety of sizes. The gardens include a long list of native plants including: Aesclepias tuberosa, Spigelia, and Fothergilla gardenii. In these gardens, the “season” never really ends.

The Needham property will also be showcasing a type of rainwater and erosion control that’s catching on across the country – a dry river bed. Discover one of the best ways to direct rain water and add interest to a property.
The landscape designer/homeowner will be available for tours and to answer questions. Please register below.



June 23, 2018
12:00 pm EDT - 4:00 pm EDT
Event Category:


Penny Lewis


Public and Private Native Plant Gardens
Various - Garden addresses provided after registration is complete. + Google Map


4 available
Celebrating Natives Ticket - Conway 2:00pm$10.00Native plant garden tour featuring extensive collection of natives.

Please fill in all required fields

2 available
Celebrating Natives Ticket - Conway 3:00pm$10.00Native plant garden tour featuring extensive collection of natives.

Please fill in all required fields

36 available
Celebrating Natives Ticket - Needham$10.00Native plant garden tour featuring extensive collection of natives.

Please fill in all required fields