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17th Annual Spring Garden Tour

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It’s that time again-time to mark your calendars for the annual spring garden tour. Hosted by UCCE Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County, the date for the tour is Sunday, June 24, with gardens open for viewing from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Tickets for the tour are $10.00 each (ages 12 and under are free). You may purchase tickets from any UCCE Tuolumne County Master Gardener and from businesses in various locations: in Columbia at Columbia Nursery; in Twain Harte at The Nest; in Standard at Nature’s Whole Food Depot & Nursery; and in Sonora at J.S. West Nursery and Hardware, Antiques, Etc., and the UCCE office at 52 North Washington Street. This year, for the first time, tickets can be purchased on-line at: Tickets ordered on-line can be picked up on the day of the tour at the demonstration garden at 251 South Barretta Street, Sonora. Extra tickets will be available there, as well.

Here is a brief preview of what awaits you at the two “public” gardens on our tour this year-the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden and the Tuolumne Community Garden. We will feature the private gardens on the tour in upcoming weeks.

The Master Gardener Demonstration Garden was first established by a Memorandum of Understanding in 2004. Eight years later, it contains multiple examples of garden themes and techniques. The food production area includes vegetable raised beds, herb garden, container plantings, berries (blackberries, raspberries, olallieberries, and blueberries), fruit trees, grapes and even a native walnut tree or two.

There are several native plant areas-a grassy meadow, a sun garden, native shade garden, and examples of large native shrubs. A lawn alternative area showcases three different varieties of buffalograss. Ornamental landscaping is found in the rose garden-with its showy clematis climbing on a manzanita arbor, the cut-flower bed, and the rock garden lush with California poppies and varieties of thyme.

Tuolumne Community Garden was established in 1994 by the Tuolumne Park and Recreation District in order to establish a community garden for the people of Tuolumne. Over the years the Garden Steering Committee has overseen the improvement of this valuable resource. The Garden features 26 raised beds as well as a meeting area, green house, storage shed and compost pile.

Applications for one of the community garden raised beds are accepted during the month of March. Membership costs $30 per year and all members are expected to maintain their assigned garden bed (weeding, as well as watering) along with adjacent pathways. The garden strives to be organic and consultation with the garden manager must be held before chemical pesticides or insecticides are used. If you are in the process of developing a community garden, visiting the Tuolumne Community Garden during the garden tour will be invaluable.

On garden tour day, water will be available at all gardens. Restrooms are ONLY available at the master gardener demonstration garden on Barretta Street. The Master Gardener book “Sharing the Knowledge” will be available for purchase at all gardens. Please do not bring pets or strollers. Remember, for an enjoyable garden tour, wear comfortable shoes, bring a hat or sunscreen and don’t forget your camera!