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Spring tours open doors to gardens, homes, art, ponds
By: Eileen Wilson, Special to Home & Garden
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It’s springtime in Placer County — the heady scent of roses in bloom, iris’ beard-like petals cascading purple glory. May is the perfect month to venture outdoors and enjoy nature’s colorful spectacle, and several home and garden tours during the next few weeks are designed to help you do just that. The eighth annual Art in the Garden Tour is May 3. This self-guided home and garden tour, featuring six fabulous Granite Bay and Loomis homes and gardens, is perfect for art lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. The tour features more than 20 local artists, and is a fundraiser for Roseville Arts. Tickets to the event are $30 and include demonstrations by some of the area’s best artists, delicious food, and wine and beverages, provided by popular restaurants. “It’s kind of a garden party,” said Beverly Barkhurst, who chairs the event.“People go through the homes, but really linger in the garden — that’s where the music and the food are.” On the tour, visitors will find a Mediterranean-style home, with spectacular architecture and a newly-planted vineyard, a Craftsmen-style home with pond, teeming with wildlife, an unusual and stunning contemporary home that brings the outdoors in, and more. Mother’s Day weekend will offer two tours, including the Garden Conservancy Open Days program featuring a look at three private gardens in Loomis and Newcastle, May 10. “The Open Days Program is the Garden Conservancy’s major outreach and fundraiser,” said Stephanie Wersky, coordinator of the national program. Visitors won’t be disappointed. Three gardens will be on display — large gardens that include Japanese gardens, water features, ponds and even a wildlife garden, which is registered with the National Wildlife Federation. There is a $5 entry fee for each garden. Tickets may be purchased for each residence on site. If you’re looking for a special treat for mom, Placer County Master Gardeners are hosting their annual Mother’s Day Garden Tour May 11. Six country gardens will be featured in the Meadow Vista and Applegate area. The Master Gardeners highlight a different area of the county each year, and gardens are fairly close together for visitors’ convenience. “We have been doing this tour for 23 years,” said Kortne Phillips, president of the Master Gardeners of Placer County. “It’s quite popular. It’s a family event and people even come down from Truckee and Reno.” Gardens range from small to sizeable, and include ponds, terraced, hilltop gardens with stunning views, creeks and waterfalls, and one garden even includes peacocks, which bring an additional splash of color to an already-brightly-colored landscape. Tickets are $10, and Master gardeners will be available to answer questions and give gardening advice. Possibly the most unique tour is the Camellia Koi Club’s Sacramento Area Pond tour May 31. The tour includes Koi ponds in Granite Bay, Roseville, Loomis and Newcastle, as well as some Sacramento county locations. Koi ponds come in all sizes. “We have 10 ponds this year, ranging from small, 1,300 gallons, to large, 30,000 gallon ponds,” said Ellen Evans, president of Camellia Koi Club. The tour highlights the types of ponds required to keep Koi healthy — deep, with a consistent temperature. In addition to ponds, the venues were chosen with landscape in mind, and range from natural ponds perfectly suited to their wild environment, to very formal ponds and grounds. The tour is perfect for anyone who has questions about Koi habitat, landscape ideas and pond maintenance, or would like to spend a relaxing day enjoying nature. Tickets are $15 per person, or $20 for a family, two adults and two children.