Six gardens will be featured on the Bernardo Gardeners Club Spring Tour on April 30

When Bill and Sandy Brehm bought their home in The Trails neighborhood of Rancho Bernardo four years ago, the garden attracted them.

“That’s part of the reason we moved, we had to have this garden,” Bill Brehm said.

But while they loved its many mature trees, the couple also wanted to bring their own landscaping preferences to their new home.

“The large objects and trees were in place…but we wanted to rip out and replant,” Bill Brehm said of the work they did over three years. “We did some patios…added to the pathway through the yard.”

“I like all plants that have pops of color,” Sandy Brehm said, adding that her husband loves succulents and cacti.

“If you look around, there are surprises,” she said of the wildlife statues throughout the garden.
After completing renovations that included a butterfly garden and adding nearly 100 pots filled with various types of plants, the Brehms invite visitors to view their work as part of the Bernardo Gardeners Club Spring Garden Tour.

The self-guided tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 30. Tickets are $30 per person.

“I’m really excited to do this…we had a lot of fun putting it together,” said Renee Garza, who organized the tour with Julia Erickson.

With the club unable to hold a tour for the past two years due to the pandemic, Garza said they decided to feature six gardens instead of the typical five.

“The owners of the houses are very proud that we selected them,” Garza said.

Four of the gardens are in Rancho Bernardo and two in Poway.

RB gardens are:

• The Franchina Garden at Bernardo Heights — Created by owner Terri Francina, the garden has many “humorous little fantasies” nestled in the front and back areas of the property. These include a small ceramic Spongebob, turtles, small teapots, and parrots in the trees that help shade a gazebo. Among other features, there are curved paths, mounds of colorful succulents, and aquatic plants throughout the yard.

• Dunn’s Garden in Bernardo Heights — Opposite Francchina Garden and also designed by Terri Francchina, Dunn’s Garden is a landscaped garden with small mounds and rocks to complement the natural design of the property. There is also a winding path from the front to the back of the property, leading to many colorful succulents, water plants and a gazebo seating area.

• The Brehm Garden in The Trails — The more than one acre property has everything from drought and water resistant plants to lush tropical plants and an orchard with a dozen fruit trees. Visitors should watch for animal statues, including a bobcat, among the rocks. Other features include a putting green, butterfly garden and swimming pool.

Visitors to Brehm Garden might do a double take seeing bobcat statues in a natural setting.

(Elisabeth Marie Himchak)

• The Shea Garden at Westwood — Visitors will enter what has been described as a “secret fairy tale garden” after passing through the garden gate on the right side of the property. It’s filled with colorful plants, fountains, antiques, birdhouses, and birdbaths to create a whimsical atmosphere. The property also has raised vegetable and herb beds in the side garden.

The Poway Gardens are:

• The Mudd Garden at The Grove — This native plant garden has been growing since 2004 when the owner began converting the 3-acre property into a nature preserve. Almost two decades later, the garden shows what can be created with plants native to the region. It includes a variety of fruit and flower trees throughout the property, where a few hens can also be found. The patio also has a unique and innovative rainwater harvesting system that visitors are encouraged to inquire about.

• Snider Garden at Bridlewood — Visitors will experience a regal atmosphere in what has been described as “The Versailles of the North County” due to its majestic multi-tiered design. Some of the features include pergolas and columns draped in colorful wisteria and other plants to make visitors feel like they are in a royal setting. There is also a swimming pool and patio overlooking a hillside flower garden which features many flowering trees and shrubs.

Tour participants can ask homeowners and master gardeners questions about gardening. Each will also have vendors offering unique crafts, jewelry, garden art, fine art, plants and plant arrangements. Complimentary refreshments will also be offered.

$30 tour tickets (which include garden addresses) are sold at Walter Andersen Nursery, 12755 Danielson Court in Poway; El Plantio Nursery, 1322 San Pasqual Valley Road in Escondido (cash or check only) and online at

The gardens are not handicapped accessible, flat shoes required, animals prohibited, toilets prohibited in the houses and children under 12 prohibited.

Proceeds will go to support numerous Bernardo Gardeners Club projects, Garza said. These include providing flower arranging activities at local retirement homes, supporting vegetable gardens at multiple Poway Unified School District campuses, and funding scholarships for horticulture students at community colleges. .

For questions about the tour, call 858-449-4240. Additional information is available at