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Garden Guides

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.

The Happiness of Apples Walk

On this walk, we make our way through Gamble Garden to visit its 15 cultivars and nearly 40 individual apple trees. As you follow our route (virtually or in person) you will learn all about apples: their appearance, their variety, their botany and especially their history. During the tour you will visit:

  • the Allée Crabapples
  • the Rose Garden
  • the Green Lattice Fence Espalier
  • the Orchard “Living Fence” and
  • the Robinson Crabapple

It will take about 30-45 mins to see all of the trees on this tour, visit here:

The Happiness of Apples Walk

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

Garden Guides: 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


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