Claremont garden tour returns April 23

Susan Schenk, president of the Claremont Garden Club since 2012, in her backyard on April 6. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

by Andrew Alonzo |

Sitting comfortably amongst her backyard foliage last week, Susan Schenk, president of the Claremont Garden Club since 2012, wore a bright smile.

She recalled garden enthusiasts walking about her space in mid-April 2022. Her home was one of six chosen to be a site for the club’s annual garden tour.

On Sunday, April 23, another group of Claremont gardeners will be part of “Claremont Eclectic: a tour of six local gardens,” the Garden Club’s annual fundraiser. Tour hours are from 1:30 to 4 p.m. but attendees must check in between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at California Botanic Garden, 1500 N. College Ave., Claremont. Admission is $20 and includes entry to CalBG on April 23 and again during the month of May. Advance tickets can be purchased at the Claremont Heritage Garner House, 840 N. Indian Hill Blvd., Claremont, at Rio de Ojas, 250 N. Harvard Ave., Claremont, or online at

“We have one that has a lot of succulents, another one that has a labyrinth, and another one that’s been remodeled quite a bit from its original water wasting design,” Schenk said. “All of the gardens have some sustainable features. They’re not necessarily all xeriscapes. Some years there are some lawns and roses. Other years there’s gravel and Zen gardens. It just varies a lot.”

Susan Schenk, president of the Claremont Garden Club since 2012, in her backyard on April 6. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

The garden club, a working group of Sustainable Claremont, was created in 2012 by Schenk and others. The tour has become a garden club staple and its main source for funding over the last few years. But it wasn’t always the club’s event to host.

“Two people from [Claremont United Church of Christ] had created a tour, Peggy Perry was one of them, as a fundraiser for the church,” Schenk said. “And a couple of years after that, they asked the garden club if we would be interested in working with them on that. We worked for a couple of years with them and then they decided to leave it just to the garden club. Since that time, we’ve carried it out in April.”

The club has kept the tour’s inclusive name since it took the reins.

“The name of the tour says what it is: Claremont Eclectic,” Schenk said. “That way we don’t have to worry about the type of gardens that all fitting in a particular box. We can just showcase the variety of designs that Claremont gardeners have.

“People seemed to enjoy it. It seems to be a good addition to the events that Claremont has.”

Although the 2020 and 2021 tours were canceled due to the pandemic, Schenk said last year’s event grossed about $4,500 for the club. A successful tour allows the garden club to pay speakers for monthly meetings and tour expenses. Funds are also used to make donations to various nonprofits throughout Claremont. In the post-pandemic era, Schenk says she hopes buzz about the tour only grows.

Apart from club fundraising, the tours are meant to spark conversation. Attendees can enjoy seeing the gardens, talking to the gardeners, and get ideas for things that they might want to do in their own garden.

More information is at


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