Garden party: Great ideas at September Stroll

August 29, 2008 

When golfer Ken Bunch wants to brush up on his putting skills, he doesn't have to drive to the nearest golf course. He can just walk into his back yard.

Bunch and his wife, Cheryl, had a putting green and swimming pool installed at their Ripon home last year. Not far from the pool is a gazebo cantina, where the couple can lounge or entertain guests. The Bunches also redesigned a side yard for Cheryl's parents, who visit often from Arizona.

The side yard includes a space where her parents can park their RV. With full water and electrical hookups for their home away from home, the spalike garden and surrounding tropics-inspired flora and décor, Cheryl's parents call their daughter and son-in-law's home "The Resort."

The family's garden is one of five that will be on display during the Ripon Garden Club's annual September Stroll next Saturday. Tickets are $15.

Stroll chairwoman Mona Restuccia said organizers always try to find a varied selection of gardens -- small and large, different styles, etc. -- so there is something to inspire everyone.

Other homes on this year's tour include:

A garden featuring an assortment of dahlias and designed to accommodate the owners' 10 grandchildren. The house was built in 1998 and the owners recently remodeled the kitchen with Milano tile, Italian granite countertops and custom appliances.

Inside the home, the owners display a vast collection of artwork and paintings, including watercolors of Yosemite Falls and Half Dome, painted by their son-in-law. A backyard pool and guesthouse reflect a Grecian spa design.

A large, spacious country garden. The homeowners wanted a garden big enough to handle family and church gatherings. Redwood and birch trees offer natural beauty and added privacy.

Another highlight: a large river-rock creekbed and bridge built by the homeowners' sons. The picturesque garden has hosted several weddings.

A home built in 2001 with a 55-year-old oak tree as the garden's centerpiece.

A man-made pond in the rear garden is stocked with goldfish and catfish. A shade structure features lattice work, which helps display metal fish

wind chimes handcrafted by a Morro Bay artist.

'The Resort'

The Bunch home, as well as the garden, will be on display during the tour.

The house was built in 1964, and when they purchased it, original blueprints were included.

A portion of the updated kitchen can be changed to suit the family's needs. In the summer, it serves also as a large dining room. In November, the couple converts that same space into a TV and fire room.

One bedroom serves as a workout room and showcase for Ken's sports memorabilia. The master bedroom was inspired by the couple's Hawaiian honeymoon.

Proceeds from the club's September Stroll are used to fund education and beautification projects in Ripon, Restuccia said.

Tickets are available at the following locations:

  • Schemper's Ace Hardware, 150 N Wilma Ave., Ripon, 599-2141
  • Parks Greenhouse Nursery, 12813 W. Ripon Road, Ripon, 599-3410
  • Scenic Nursery, 1313 Scenic Drive, Modesto, 523-7978
  • Phillips Lighting, 1700 McHenry Ave No. A3, Modesto, 524-6287
  • Morris Nursery, 1837 Patterson Road, Riverbank, 527-5553
  • Creative Water Gardens, 19777 McHenry Ave., Escalon, 838-8650
  • Yosemite Nursery, 1990 E. Yosemite Ave., Manteca, 824-0341

Bee staff writer Donna Birch can be reached at dbirch@modbee.com or 578-2309.

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