Garden tours seem to be the fundraising trend for nonprofit groups in the local area. The 11th annual Venice Garden Tour took place Saturday, May 7th, and now newer garden tours are planned by groups in Westchester and Santa Monica.

WESTCHESTER — The Westchester Mental Health Guild presents its third annual garden tour in Westchester and Playa del Rey from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 15th.

“There are more gardens in Westchester than you would believe,” says Joan Conca, spokeswoman for the Westchester Mental Health Guild and its garden tour.

The tour is self-guided and will feature seven gardens. Tickets can be purchased for $20 at The Guilded Cage, 8917-B Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester; and at the Airport Marina Counseling Service, 7891 La Tijera Blvd., Westchester.

The tour will feature some traditional garden styles including an English “gardener’s garden” — a front yard fully planted with ferns, irises, tulips, roses, says Conca. “It’s just a solid mass of beautiful planting,” says Conca.

One of the gardens on the tour, distinguished by its resident kitty “Sally,” features roses, impatiens, astromeria and calla lilies planted by its landscape architect owner.

Another in Westchester features hand-built arbors and benches and is adorned with cactuses, succulents, a rose garden and citrus trees including a Japanese tangerine tree variety, says Conca.

One property features a “secret garden,” hidden behind an ivy covered wall.

Information, (310) 641-7850.

SANTA MONICA — A new garden tour featuring selections in Santa Monica is being organized this year by the Virginia Avenue Project, a nonprofit group that seeks to help local children through performing arts programs and one-on-one mentoring.

The theme of the garden tour will be “ecologically-sound gardens,” according to organizers.

The tour includes demonstrations of sustainable gardening techniques and practices along its route.

Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 14th, beginning at 1027 Princeton St., Santa Monica. Tickets are $35 for individuals, $50 for parent and child pairs and $25 for seniors.

The tour is the brainchild of Marilee Kuhlman, who works for a landscape design company.

Tour-goers will also receive tips that they can use in their own home gardens. Kuhlman has gathered a committee of landscape professionals and garden enthusiasts who will serve as docents at each garden, giving advice to tour-goers.

Tips will be given on composting, garden lighting, pest management and even sun-protective clothing.

There will also be sun and shade plant combinations for sale that will include information for their care.

Information, (310) 264-4230.

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