Elaborate private garden escapes at seven Modesto residences will go public for one day only as the annual Spring Garden Tour returns on April 20.
The Modesto Garden Club's "Private Garden Retreats" tour will show off, among other things, seasonal color, a life-size doll house-turned-artist studio, views of Dry Creek, a shaded oasis and a house that blends indoors and outdoors, according to news releases.
The landscapes enhance a variety of architectural styles among the homes from midcentury modern to mock Tudor to contemporary in the east Modesto neighborhoods of La Loma, Wycliffe and Eastridge.
These are "not your cookie cutter landscapes," tour chair Gerry Yockey said in a release. "Everyone loves the chance to get a peek behind the garden gates. And there's no better way to enjoy a spring day in Modesto."
Gardens may be visited in any order. Maps and tips for touring are includedwith a ticket purchase.
Proceeds benefit the garden club's community projects, which include beautification, therapeutic gardening, children's gardening and six $1,500 horticultural scholarships.
The club's projects include planning, planting and maintaining the Virginia Corridor rose garden, downtown pots and hanging baskets, Modesto's Flower Clock and the Modesto Arch plantings.
The tour is not only for people who consider themselves gardeners. Garden club members have found, according to news releases, that participants who visit the gardens each year often find inspiration for their own homes and learn about landscaping, among other benefits.
The following are descriptions from the garden club about each of the tour stops:
Overlooking Dry Creek, this contemporary home features an arched portico for a dramatic entry. The back yard has multiple levels and decks with sitting areas under oak trees and views of the creek. Ground cover roses tumble down part of the hillside. Discover an English garden that is a favorite sitting spot and garden retreat. And if the weather is just right, tourgoers will be able to see the homeowner's favorite flower, lilies, in bloom.
Olive trees pruned in a pompon style proclaim you're in for some fun in this home and garden. The owner, a sports and NASCAR lover, enjoys the backyard entertainment that features a built-in barbecue and a misting fan to ward off summer heat. You'll also find a cool green garden, bulbs, a patio shaded with jasmine and seasonal color.
Eastridge area: Discover a collection of doll houses that inspired a life-size doll house in the yard, originally made for grandchildren. Now it is a private retreat and artist's studio. Every plant in the garden is a favorite of the gardener, who has built her garden with love and dreams.
Close to Scenic Drive and Oakdale Road: Discover a shaded oasis of redwoods, magnolias, maples and maytens in a yard that features family touches everywhere. These include the clubhouse, dad's brick walkways and arbor, and mom's painted fence and sea glass steppingstone. It's a personal retreat that may spark an idea or two for your own retreat.
This garden has multiple outdoor living spaces, each providing a unique garden retreat. The front courtyard has vine- covered walls with queen palms overhead. The pool area features outdoor rooms surrounded by banana trees, birds of paradise and dracaena a bit of the tropics in Modesto.
La Loma area: A charming La Loma area home built in 1935 in the mock Tudor style, a very popular style from about 1910 to 1940. The home is framed by a mature tree. The Tudor accents include a steeply pitched gable roof, secondary cross gables, small diamond-patterned dormer windows, and decorative half-timber framing. This gardener particularly loves plants that are variegated or weeping and is expanding her collection of these plants. Her idea of a garden retreat is a place to meet with family and friends to share good food and wine.
Shaded by towering oaks, this mid-1950s Eichler-inspired house seamless blends indoors and outdoors. Shaded by towering oaks, the landscaping featuring native and informal plants. The front courtyard provides a quiet garden retreat, while the back of the home overlooks Thousand Oaks Park. Before the garden restoration accomplished by the current owners, the clerestory windows were barely visible. (Eichler was a Bay Area builder who featured bold modern designs that brought the outside in.)
Downtown: The Modesto Garden Club office and gardens, 622 14th St., also will be part of the tour. The front yard features a cottage garden that evokes a simpler time. Although a small space, there's an opportunity to wander among the plants that bloom in different seasons.
The curving brick sidewalk to the main entrance of French doors is a gentle flowing shape, packed with colorful annuals along each side. The back yard has additional demonstration gardens: Asian, herb, California Cool, heirloom formal, foliage and raised.
The patio has space for outdoor tables and umbrellas. The rose bed features a brick wall in front that can be used as additional seating. A trellised creeping fig provides an additional focal point.