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The Jones’ Garden Is Self-Sufficient

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On Sunday, June 8th, save room on your calendar for one of the premier events sponsored by University of California Cooperative Extension Central Sierra. Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County will host their Nineteenth Annual Garden Tour and Smart Water Expo from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Water conservation and gardening in drought conditions will be the twin themes of this year’s garden tour, hence the name change. There are two beautiful and very different gardens on the tour this year, along with a nursery site featuring drought-tolerant and California native plants, and presentations at the Demonstration garden focusing on advanced water conservation techniques.

In keeping with the theme, self-sufficient gardens will be highlighted. In addition to higher elevation gardens, The Nest in Twain Harte will feature a display of drought-tolerant and California native plants. Master Gardeners will be on hand at all venues to answer questions and provide information.

At the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden, 251 South Barretta Street, in Sonora, water conserving demonstrations and lectures will be offered. At 11:00 a.m. find out how to create your own rainwater catchment system. At 1:00 p.m. Rob Kostlivy, Tuolumne County Environmental Health, will provide information about graywater systems.

Garden # 2, in the Twain Harte area, is owned by Pam and Steve Jones. This is a beautiful garden with spectacular views. The garden sits on a high bluff above the North Fork of the Tuolumne River. This vantage allows views of distant mountains to the south.

The lush gardens feature a variety of tea and David Austin roses, as well as countless other plants, including ornamentals, vegetable gardens, fruit trees, and berry vines. This sunny location is at high elevation, with a southern exposure creating a “banana belt” effect which allows plants to thrive that are zoned for lower elevations (and warmer temperatures). A stroll through the beautifully-landscaped, multi-level gardens offers a wide variety of incredible views with interesting plants.

A recently installed gray water system supplements a newly drilled deep well to provide water for the gardens. Electricity is supplied by solar panels, making this home self- sustaining, when necessary. The owners provide a handout that explains their self-sustaining systems. The greenhouse contains a display of succulents—water-wise versatile plants that adapt well to pots or gardens with little care and water.

Come join us for a glass of iced tea, a walk through the colorful gardens and enjoyment of the amazing views. You can glean ideas for your home, as well as water conserving tips that can be put to use anywhere.

Park along Coffill Road below the garden. The owners will provide a shuttle from the mail box up to the gardens and back down to Coffill Road for the convenience of garden tour visitors.

Garden Tour tickets are available at Columbia Nursery in Columbia; J.S. West Hardware; Antiques, Etc.; the UCCE office in Sonora; The Nest in Twain Harte; Nature’s Whole Food Depot Nursery in Standard; and from any Tuolumne County Master Gardener.  Tickets are $10.00 (children 12 and under free). Tickets will also be available on the day of the tour at the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden at 251 S. Barretta Street in Sonora, CA. In addition, tickets can be purchased on-line at:

Margaret Klein is a UCCE Master Gardener of Tuolumne County, president of the Master Gardener advisory board and will be greeting you at the Jones garden on June 8th.