University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County will host their 18th annual Garden Tour on Sunday, June 2nd, 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There will be four private gardens showcased, plus the Master Gardener demonstration garden. This is an excellent opportunity to get new ideas for your own garden, as well as ask questions of Master Gardeners, who will be stationed in each garden to point out special features.
One of the gardens on the tour belongs to Rose Lenzo and Larry Hunter. When Rose bought the house 13 years ago, there was no garden. The hill in back was rocky and prone to erosion, often sliding down into the backyard. Rose knew she would have to plant the slope to stabilize it. Rose claims that her best gardening tool is the pickaxe. She used it to break up the hard foothill soil before she could plant anything. Now, years later, Rose and Larry have a lush, beautiful garden that is rewarding them for all their hard work. Although there was no master theme before starting the garden, it looks as if it were carefully planned. It grew organically over the years into an English cottage-style garden.
One of the standard axioms in planning a garden is repetition. Repeated shapes and plantings give a garden structure and tie it together. Rose and Larry save all spent flower heads that drop off or are dead headed. They label paper bags and dry the flowers in them over the winter. The next spring they mix the dried flowers, laden with their hundreds of seeds, into compost and then into rich soil. They then spread the mixture into a new area of the garden. Not only does this reduce the money spent at nurseries, but the yield is much higher because the seeds are so plentiful. For example, they have many hydrangea bushes, but have actually only purchased two.
Numerous plantings of rosemary and thyme keep the deer at bay. Many drought-tolerant plants and natives have been added. The front hill was constructed by Rose shortly after she bought the house. It makes an interesting and pretty entry beside the driveway, planted with Goldilocks (lysimachia) which cascades down the hill like golden chains around various shrubs.
In the back garden, potato vine weaves in and out of the patio pergola and produces white blooms. There is a carpet of sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) just off the patio with lovely white flowers repeating the color of the potato vine and star-shaped whorls of leaves which, as its Latin name suggests, are sweet smelling.
The front garden has a carpet of lawn surrounded by many flowering bushes and trees. There is a Japanese cryptomeria behind the hydrangeas, variegated irises, Johnny jump-ups, maples, Oregon grape, penstemons and many others. Brilliant pink clematis climbs up one of the posts to the house.
Rose and Larry do their own composting and use it throughout the garden. They spend hours tending their garden and it shows. Rose claims that gardening works better and is cheaper than therapy. Her philosophy of gardening is to cover as much ground as possible, resulting in a garden that is thick and rich with colors and shapes.
The cost for the garden tour is $10.00. Tickets are available in Columbia at Columbia Nursery; in Sonora at J.S. West Hardware, Antiques, Etc. and the UCCE office. In Standard, purchase tickets at Nature’s Whole Food Depot, and in Twain Harte at The Nest. Tickets are available from any Master Gardener and online tickets can be purchased at: http://ucanr.org/tuolumnegardentourtickets2013.
Master Gardener Francie McGowan gardens at higher elevations in Tuolumne County and will be at the Lenzo/Hunter garden on the day of the garden tour.