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Sweetest Suburban Garden 

The Gardens at Heather Farm

Shakespeare said it best when he wrote that a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. Those who swoon at this aroma would do well to visit the Gardens at Heather Farm in Walnut Creek. Adjacent to Heather Farms Park, a 102-acre recreational area that offers swimming, tennis, picnic and play areas, equestrian access, and a pond, the gardens are run by a cadre of dedicated volunteers and a small paid staff, who offer tours as well as classes on topics including pest control for home and garden, how to create a bird and butterfly habitat garden, and herbs and their uses. There are more than twenty different kinds of gardens -- including a native plant garden, a waterfall garden, a butterfly garden, and a sensory herb garden -- highlighting plants that thrive in California's Mediterranean climate. But the gardens' special feature is its roses: With more than 1,000 bushes and more than 150 types, visitors are sure to find at least one that smells sweet. The free admission is sweet, too. Open during daylight hours.

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