The Mary Lou Heard Memorial Garden Tour is a yearly, self-guided charity event held by the Mary Lou Heard Foundation, a California nonprofit organization dedicated to continuing Mary Lou’s life work.
This yearly self-guided tour is hosted by real gardeners — just like you — who have generously consented to share their personal creations. Make no mistake, they have worked incredibly hard for the better part of a year making sure that everything is in place for you — their honored guest. Every year we’re sure that never before have we seen such a dazzling array of beautiful and imaginative gardens assembled for one Tour. And every year it’s TRUE!
This year you’ll see gardens that have graced the pages of fine gardening magazines, gardens that are sure to be snatched up for photo-shoots, gardens to remember for a lifetime. They include incredible architectural features, creative surprises, and new approaches to even the most time-honored practices. Formal and elegant Tuscan gardens, a woodland garden dancing with Japanese maples, cottage gardens both humble and grand, xeriscape and coastal scrub gardens — all yours to savor. The Tour is always a wonderful, joyous event, but it is so much more than that. Of course, everyone is hoping for inspiration: the gorgeous bloom, the creative solution, the perfect new plant “find”. But if you look very closely, you realize that to see a garden is to see the very heart of its creator. And you see that it’s not size or money or horticultural prowess that makes these wonderful gardens so special — it’s the message shared by each heart.
To provide an opportunity for the public to enjoy and celebrate the efforts and hard work of local gardeners and their residential landscapes.
No price will ever be set for viewing the gardens. Donations received at the host gardens on tour days will go to the Sheepfold, a charity that serves and shelters women in crisis and their children. Let your heart and your spirit dictate the amount of any gift you are willing to give. Donation jars will be available at each host garden for your cash or check donations, or you can donate through PayPal on our Donate page.
More often than we know, a woman must grab her children and flee in the middle of the night with just the clothes they are wearing. Where can she go at this hour? By morning the children will be tired, hungry… and frightened.
Rebuilding these lives while keeping mother and children together and safe is a monumental task to say the least. This is The Sheepfold’s mission – in the name of the Lord. They have never turned away anyone in need.