Garden Tour FAQs

Is the 2021 tour still on?

We hope that all is back to normal by June of 2021, but a garden tour requires months of advance planning and the coordination of dozens of people, so we must cancel our plans for the 2021 tour. 

The follow will apply (hopefully) to the 2022 tour:

Where do I buy tickets?
What is the entrance fee?
How can I get a map in advance?
The tour is free.  No maps are provided in advance.  The primary purpose of this tour is education.  Instead of an entrance fee, we ask you to listen to a short orientation speech about the purpose of the Backyard Wildlife Program when you pick up your map.

Is this a walking or driving tour?  Do I need a car?
Yes, you need a car as this is a driving tour.  We encourage you to carpool as parking may be limited at some gardens. 

Route planning: if I can't get a map in advance, how will I be able to find the gardens?
A map is provided with the brochure although the printing has small text.  Signs will be placed along the roadways to direct you:  each garden will be marked and A-frame signboards will signal turns along major roads.

If you're not familiar with the area, you can pick up a free map of the island at any of the local real estate offices.  A GPS is also helpful.  Be sure to check out the large wall map where you pick up your map.   All gardens will be marked on it as well as restaurant locations.  (Also pick up a list of restaurants when you get your garden tour brochure if you're not familiar with the area.)

If you are familiar with Camano roadways, you might consider visiting the gardens in reverse order.  Most of our visitors start early and visit the gardens in the order listed in the brochure which means that parking spaces in the gardens at the end of the list have less competition early in the morning.  The listed order facilitates easier navigation – i.e. right hand turns, but feel free to visit gardens in any order that you choose.

Are photographs permitted?
As with all public events, photographs are permitted as long as they're not used for advertising to make money.

How should I prepare before I come? What should I bring?
Bring your reading glasses as the brochure print may be small.
A gps / smart phone/ car navigation system is also helpful, but not required.  Garden locations are marked by signs on the roadways.
Be sure to wear sturdy walking shoes – heels and open-toed sandals are not good choices as some gardens may feature uneven paths through woodlands.
As with all outdoor activities, bring a hat, sunglasses, umbrella (if rain threatens), water, and snacks.
If possible, carpool with friends and/or drive a small car as parking is sometimes limited.
You may wish to bring a picnic lunch and eat at a park (bring your Discover Pass if you would like to eat at either of our state parks), but there are also plenty of restaurants on the island.
Please bring your patience as well.  On beautiful days, we may have unexpectedly large crowds and sometimes people stay longer at the larger gardens that have a lot of features, so parking is at a premium.  Most of our gardens are private homes and are not designed to accommodate large numbers of guest parking.  All of our docents and parkers are volunteers, and sometimes we just get overwhelmed.  If you see that parking is tight, consider skipping that garden and coming back to it later.

What should I know about parking?
The majority of our gardens are private and parking is thus limited.  Watch for parking signs and follow the directions given to you by the parking assistants.

If you or any of your passengers have mobility concerns, tell the parking assistants.  They will direct you so that you can park as close as possible to the garden entrance or at least let you drop off passengers.
Pick up a Mobility Parking Pass when you pick up your map to expedite parking.

Is this a kid-friendly event?
Although we welcome children, the event is geared primarily for adults.

Can I bring my dog?
Dogs are not allowed in the gardens unless they are service animals.   People who leave an unattended animal in a car where it might be harmed by heat or lack of water or fresh air can be fined or ticketed.   If the temperature outside is 75, it can reach 100 inside the car in 10 minutes. If you leave the windows open, dogs often bark incessantly.  Please plan ahead; leave your dog at home. 

How can I volunteer my garden (or my neighbor's) for a future garden tour?
We're always on the lookout for gardens.   We need all types of gardens (small, large, established, new, forest, meadow, waterfront, organic, flower, vegetable, etc.) and garden features (composting, reduced water use, zones, water features, etc.) to demonstrate that ANY property can easily be a Backyard Wildlife Habitat.   We try to focus on a specific section of the island (north, middle, south) each year to minimize driving time between the gardens, so the tour may not come to your section the next year, but it's good to volunteer early so you will have time to prepare.
Please email and we will contact you with more information.

How can I help?
The garden tour is entirely run by volunteers.  We can always use your help.  Even if you don't want to be a docent or parker (the two most in-demand roles), or not available on garden tour day, we can use help with publicity and other projects in advance.  We'd love to have you participate!

Have a question that's not addressed here?
Please email or call 360-387-2236.