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Garden Guides

Get to Know our Amazing Native Oaks featuring Elise Willis, Canopy

A Collaboration by The Woman’s Club of Palo Alto, Canopy, and Gamble Garden

Recorded on February 10, 2021

What are Garden Guides?

Garden Guides are volunteers trained to give educational tours of the garden. The tours focus on ecology, botany, beauty, and the garden’s history. We use an inquiry-based approach to exploring Gamble’s historical “garden rooms” and specialty gardens including the camellia, native plant, pollinator, rain gardens, and more. Our tours are designed for adults, families with children, and school groups.

Garden Guides provide free tours during our Second Saturday events and are available to give customized tours on unique parts of the garden.

For more information or to arrange a tour, please call Gamble Garden at 650-329-1356.

Captivating Camellias Tour: Queen of the Winter Flowers

The camellias of Gamble are particularly vibrant during the winter months as their abundant flowers burst forth in a wide variety of intricate forms and broad spectrum of shades. Elizabeth Gamble was a collector of camellias from the early days of the garden, and the garden has a number of her original hybrids in the shaded woodlands to the north of the house. Asian in origin, the evergreen Camellia genus has been cultivated for centuries, and our garden includes varieties from the 17th and 18th centuries as well as more recent hybrids. Our garden is an American Camellia Society Camellia Trail Garden.

For more, visit our comprehensive guide to the Gamble camellia collection or take a tour of our Heritage Camellias with a Google Map in English or Chinese language.


The Trees of Gamble Garden Tour

Together with Canopy the Garden Guides have developed an engaging walk through the garden visiting the signature trees of the property. A number of the specimens are associated with the original 1908 garden, while others were added over the decades. Elizabeth Gamble liked to collect native, Asian and rare trees, which you will find on this 30-45 minute tour. Come along with us on our photo-illustrated walk here:

Trees of Gamble Garden Tour

Arid Plants Walking Tour of Gamble Garden

Garden Guide Doug Kalish has created a 30-minute walking tour at Gamble Garden to help you understand what plants do to survive in hot, dry environments. By using the succulents, cacti, and grasses of Gamble Garden as examples read how plants that live in arid environments have evolved adaptations that conserve what little water is available in the desert and Mediterranean areas and how they protect themselves from the heat of the day.

This guide can be accessed on your cellphone and use it to walk around the garden, or you can do an ‘armchair’ tour by reading the text and looking at the pictures in your home. You won’t need to know a lot of science to understand the tour, and you can skip over any topics that don’t interest you.

You can view the tour here:

Arid Plants Walking Tour

How to Become a Garden Guide

The Garden Guide program is a great way to learn more about Gamble Garden while sharing your love of nature with others. People who complete the training will lead tours six to twelve times per year, including at our popular Second Saturdays. Guides choose flexible schedules and have the option to lead garden tours for adults or educational nature tours for families. With additional training, guides will have the opportunity to provide tours for Gamble members, private groups, and elementary school groups.

Garden Guides and all the volunteers at Gamble Garden provide over 35,000 hours a year of volunteer work and are our lifeblood.

Volunteering at Gamble Garden is a great way to contribute to your community, meet new friends, use your talents, and learn new skills. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Garden Guide, please visit our Volunteer page. 

Garden Guides! Log in to the Guides’ Education section here: Resources

Garden Guides Recorded Material

TitlePresenterRecording DateDuration
For the Love of IrisBetsy Fryberger4/14/20211:00:17irises, Woman's Club, MOAH
Getting to Know Our Amazing Native OaksElise Willis, Sue Krumbein2/10/20210:54:11native oaks, Canopy, Woman's Club of Palo Alto
Water Tanks and TowersJane Stocklin, Sue Krumbein1/27/20210:37:11water supply, local history
The Watershed Garden with Richard HaydenRichard Hayden, Girvin Peters1/6/20211:02:33
Watershed Garden, design
The Happiness of Apples - Family SectionMary Powell8/5/20200:08:17
kids, Second Saturday, apples
Armchair Exploration: All Things Apple at GambleDoug Kalish, Mary Powell

Second Saturday, apples
The Watershed GardenDoug Kalish7/27/20200:51:31watershed, water cycle

Live Tour of Gamble Garden with San Mateo/Silicon Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau
Veronica Thao5/28/20200:37:42kids, Pollinator Garden, Roots & Shoots Edible Garden, greenhouse, tomatoes
Save the MonarchsEleanor Laney10/12/20190:23:51monarchs, butterflies, kids