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Mother's Day tour provides peek into six unique landscapes

By: Gloria Young Home & Garden
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It?s prime bloom time in the foothills and this weekend?s Master Gardeners? Mother?s Day tour will showcase some of the area?s most spectacular landscapes. Six gardens will be open for viewing ? four in Auburn and two in Meadow Vista. Tour chairwomen Kortne Phillips and Cooki Vonasek work all year to bring together a palette that is beautiful and unique. This year?s selection offers sustainability, whimsy and craftsmanship as well as green thumb flair. ?We strive for variety and we want six different gardens,? Phillips said. ?Especially we want different layouts, different plants and arrangements.? Phillips describes what visitors will see at Sal and Peggy Williams? Auburn property as a ?personality garden.? ?The couple has been working on it for years, adding things because they love to collect all kinds of stuff,? Phillips said. ?(Sal Williams) loves to make things. ? He has birdhouses all over that are just fabulous.? He has one that?s kind of a condo complex for birds.? Williams? birdhouses now number 31. ?Right now some of them have babies,? Peggy Williams said. ?Every year we have different birds that come in. ? We have a lot of oak trees on the property and (Sal) wanted a birdhouse for every tree. It?s fun to see if you can find them all. Some are pretty high up and hidden in the branches.? The garden also features a potting shed built with materials salvaged from an old farmhouse. And there are a lot of whimsical accents, including Peggy Williams? whirligig collection. ?I see it as therapy,? she said about gardening. ?I love going out and working in the yard. It?s quiet and there are always lots of birds out there.? Another garden visitors will see exudes an exotic appeal. ?The owner was a Peace Corps volunteer for years in Nepal,? Phillips said. ?Being in the culture and understanding how people were living, he assimilated all of that. ? Since that time he has had hand-carved wood stone and brick ? everything made in this Katmandu valley, right below the Himalayas. He had these things shipped back and he has constructed not only a Hindu temple but four shade structures.? There?s also a large fountain created with carved stone and decorative brick. ?In Nepal, this would have been for water gathering,? Phillips explained. ?Water would come from the mountains and downhill and through these different fountains, and people would come there to get their water. At the end of the week, people would gather and (bathe in) the water that had built up in the fountain.? It is one of those off-the-chart labors of love, she said. The two gardens in Meadow Vista reflect more of a rustic ambiance. One of them includes a picturesque log house. The homeowner is a do-it-yourselfer, even creating his own pavers. He also built his own kitchen, outdoor fireplace and greenhouse, Phillips said. ?The greenhouse is made from recycled windows,? Phillips said. In fact, recycling is evident throughout the garden. ?Whenever he was out traveling and found usable things, he?d bring them back and put them in the garden ? all kinds of repurposed and reused items,? she said Visitors will also see a terraced garden, with pathways leading to different plantings; a ?secret garden? and an urban forest garden that combines shaded wooded areas with floral accents, cascading waterfall and personal putting green, according to a press release. Master gardeners will be at all of the six sites to greet visitors and answer questions. Funds raised on the tour fund master gardener education and community outreach programs, including workshops, the hotline and a new demonstration garden. ------------ Master Gardeners? Mother?s Day Garden Tour When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 13 Tickets: $12 each and free for children under 12. Purchase tickets and map at Eisley Nursery in Auburn, Green Acres Nursery & Supply in Roseville and Flower Farm Nursery in Loomis. A few tickets will also be available at each garden.