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Tour makes most of spring’s flowering palette

Master Gardeners’ annual showcase to feature sites in Newcastle, Loomis, Granite Bay and Roseville
By: Gloria Young Home & Garden
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Planning the annual Mother’s Day garden tour is a year-round quest for Placer County Master Gardeners Kortne Phillips and Cooki Vonasek. “We’re always asking gardeners wherever we go if they can recommend a garden for our tour,” Phillips said. “So we’re constantly on the lookout.” This year’s showcase features beautiful landscapes in Newcastle, Loomis, Granite Bay and Roseville. “They’re all gardens that haven’t been seen before (on the tour),” she said. “And they’re all completely different.” Five of the six represent years and years of effort. “The homeowners have been working with them for a long time, changing them and they evolve,” Phillips said. “The homeowners try new things and new plants and it is kind of fun.” The Newcastle garden has two-and-a-half acres filled with Japanese maples, water features, aviaries and whimsical art pieces. And it is still a work in progress. “There are a lot of things to see in this garden,” Phillips said. “Every time I see it, I see different things.” Two members of the local rose societies will have gardens on the tour — one in Granite Bay and the other in Roseville. “The homeowners (in Granite Bay) are rose judges. So they have a phenomenal amount of roses. If a rose doesn’t perform to standard, they pick it out and choose another.” The garden also features a huge koi pond. The Roseville location has more of an English garden feel, with beautiful flowers, perennials, herbs and fruit trees in a flow throughout the property. “She has incorporated lots of different roses that she calls ‘the jewelry’ that give the color and sparkle to the landscape,” Phillips said. Homeowner Charlotte Owendyk tends more than 300 varieties in her yard. “We call ourselves ‘rosa-holics,’” she said with a laugh. Owendyk grew up in a gardening family, but her focus on roses didn’t begin until adulthood. These days, she’s a member of three rose societies — Gold Country, Sierra Foothills (past president) and Sacramento. She also puts out a 16-page newsletter 10 times a year. This time of year, the rosebushes are moving toward full bloom, creating a rainbow palette in her yard. “My favorite is called ‘Secret,’” she said. “It’s pink and white. It has what we call a quick repeat. Every six weeks you get a new batch and it is fragrant. It is just a beautiful rose.” Owendyk’s garden also has a special outdoor garden room and a water-wise front yard. “We pulled out the lawn and put in more Mediterranean-type gardens and some yellow roses,” she said. The yellow roses are the Julia Child variety. Child actually never wanted a rose named after her, Owendyk said. But while the famous chef was touring a field with different types, this one’s buttery yellow petals struck a chord. She pointed to it and said “that one.” The tour’s second garden in Granite Bay is the work of Placer County master gardeners. “Because he has been involved and an active composter over the years, he has composted and enriched the soil so they have year-round vegetables,” Phillips said. “They’ve created terraced areas, raised beds — all kinds of things to incorporate their edibles in with ornamentals.” That type of sustainability is something more and more people are creating. “You’re working with the elements,” she said. “He has native oaks on the property, working with them to create a really wonderful, livable environment. It becomes useful and very pleasing to (view).” A third garden in Granite Bay has a Mediterranean look and feel. “It is Tuscan elegance that is designed for outdoor living on a grand scale,” Phillips said. “They have an outdoor kitchen and another whole outdoor room. There are huge fountains. It’s all nestled among huge boulders and rock outcroppings. They’ve used drought-tolerant plants that go with all the elevations of the property. It’s one of those things, when you see it, it could be a movie set,” she said. There’s even a bocce ball court. The Loomis garden has a woodland feel. “They have conifers and oaks, but then they also have all kinds of flowering shrubs and smaller trees throughout the property,” Phillips said. “There are also camellias, rhododendrons and things like that. As you curve toward the back of the property, there are fruit trees, vegetables and grapevines. You can see that the landscaping design is totally different from the rest (of the gardens on the tour.” Visitors on the tour will not only get plenty of ideas for garden projects. They’ll see some innovation, too. “In one garden, they had a drainage problem so they’ve cut the pipes into different lengths and they have them standing on end to use as planters,” Phillips said. “It has created a whole different look in the garden. It is modern and clean. You have planters at different heights and the homeowners put vegetables in them. It makes it every simple for gardening and changing out the plants.” In another instance, a gardener gathered stones and chiseled half-circles in them. He fills them with water for birds and small animals. “It adds a pretty effect,” she said. “It is a natural piece of stone hollowed out to hold water, so it is really fun to see.” The annual tour coincides with the optimal spring bloom time and the master gardeners are hoping for plenty of sun during the next few days to coax blossoming flowers to their maximum beauty. Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com. ------------ Placer County Master Gardeners’ Mother’s Day Garden Tour When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 8, featuring six gardens in Newcastle, Loomis, Granite Bay and Roseville. Tickets: $10 per person, free for children under 12 Where to purchase: Eisley Nursery in Auburn, Flower Farm Nursery in Loomis, Green Acres Nursery & Supply in Roseville