The first tentative spring blooms may just now be popping up in the Central Valley, but members and friends of the Turlock Garden Club are already putting tender loving care into their landscapes, as the club prepares to host its Third Annual Garden Tour with the theme "Our Hearts in our Gardens."
This year's tour, set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 11, will feature seven unique gardens in Turlock and Denair. The gardens will vary from Victorian with a Southern inspired yard, which will feature an iron fountain cast in 1820 from the Smyth Plantation in Eatonton, Georgia, to a Colonial style garden with Texas privet, Japanese boxwood, red maples and flowering pear and iceberg roses.
There will be a garden with many different types of art, and a yard that has flagstone walkways that defines different areas for herbs, vegetables and color spots. The yard that features the flagstone walkway also has large weeping blue spruce anchors and dips over the stream that comes from a four-tiered fountain. In yet another garden on the tour, an archway of Cecil Bruerner roses lead into a whole rose garden area.
The tour will also feature many raised garden beds, gazebos, barbecue areas and fire pits. One yard highlights the joy of birding with an area to watch visiting hummingbirds, tanagers, sparrows, doves, finches, mockingbirds and an occasional hawk.
Although many of the gardens in the tour are the product of years of planning and hard work, one yard will give guests an idea of what to expect when designing a yard from scratch.
"This is a brand new yard, not yet two years planted," said Diane Welch of her Denair yard that will be featured in the garden tour. "It's a chance to let people see how a new yard can look."
When Welch first moved into the Denair home a few years ago, she originally wanted to have a swimming pool installed in the back yard. But a group of eucalyptus trees that sat just on the other side of her back yard fence put an end to that idea.
"It was like a disaster area after a storm," she said about the quantity of leaves that would fall on her side of the fence.
Although most of the eucalyptus trees have been removed, Welch decided to plan her yard around one feature: the patio.
"We built the patio first because we like to entertain," she said.
After the tiled patio with a three-part slatted portico that runs the length of the house in the back yard was built, the Welches then called in a landscape designer.
When planning the yard design, Welch said she took into consideration drought-resistant plants and also a few things important to her like a rose garden.
Welch offers this advice to those planting a brand new yard: "Don't plant too many plants too close together."
She said this is a common mistake because garden owners may not take into consideration how much a plant will grow over time. Welch said she would share other tips and ideas on designing new yards to those coming to her home through the garden tour.
Tickets for the garden tour are $20 for adults and $10 for children and available at The Greenery in Turlock, Morris Nursery in Riverbank and West Turf Nursery in Modesto. For more information about the tour, contact Holli Walker at 620-0406.