The Pence Gallery 20th Annual Garden Tour had, as always, a wonderful collection of gardens just full of ideas made to inspire gardeners. But in addition to the things many of us are wanting to replicate in our own gardens (I already have basil planted in a basket bed!) there were a number of very cool features to view that most of us are not going to end up adding to our gardens.
At the slough-side retreat of Richard Guarino extensive brick pathways convey a European feel, the multiple levels offering a variety of seating areas from which to view the slough and the native plants surrounding it.
On the day of the tour plein air artist Debbie Gualco of Sacramento was set up on a small patio separate from the larger walkways. Close to the slough it looked to be a wonderfully private spot from which wildlife might be easy to observe.
Across the slough and to the west is the site of the mini valley grassland that Master Gardener Patricia Carpenter is developing. About 3000 square feet of grasses and wildflowers native to the Sacramento Valley grasslands have been planted in this not quite 2 year old section. Not something one would find in the average garden, it was impressive and great fun to explore. Nearby were other native plant areas showing examples of ecosystems such as desert, foothill and meadow.
Finally, the ultimate garden playhouse was found in the garden of Richard and Jeri Howitt.
Near the pond a Weeping Mulberry has been pruned to form a cozy hideaway complete with entryway and child sized furniture. Tall enough for most adults to stand in, it was a magical spot, although it is one that must require a fair amount of pruning to maintain. Even so, what a fun project, one that would make the pruning so worth doing!
We are fortunate that the Pence Gallery sponsors this wonderful tour each year and that generous and talented gardeners agree to open their gardens to crowds of appreciative viewers. It is a Davis springtime observance that is a favorite of many. And there are only eleven months to wait until we can do it again!