Six Napa County gardens will be open to the public on Sunday May 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a a Master Gardener tour titled ‘Discover Garden Magic.’
The gardens were created by Master Gardeners, following the UC research-based horticultural principles and practices, but each garden is distinctive in its details from an old-vine Zinfandel vineyard to high-tech irrigation systems.
The tour helps fund the Napa County Master Gardener programs, which in-turn benefits local residents through educational programs, horticultural information services.
For the 2017 tour, three of the showcased gardens are in Calistoga. The first one is referred to as the tour’s “Birds, Bees & Butterflies” garden for its extensive use of plants that attract these pollinators. The front-yard during peak season is so packed with pollen-laden, pollinator attracting plants, the house can barely be seen from the street. This density is the actual goal of the Master Gardener property owner who has spent many years adjusting plant quantities and types to create these privacy screens from a forest of flowers. While the front-yard is overflowing with flowers, especially in the summer, the backyard is filled with edibles, such as strawberries and figs, apples from espaliered trees and seasonal vegetables. Additional features of this garden will be a gently used garden book sale. Allso, two neighborhood children will be selling fresh lemonade to benefit their college savings.
The second landscape, “Cottage Garden Retreat,” is a water-wise garden featuring succulents and other “unthirsty” plants. This garden also has a unusual barrel-stave front fence as well as a shady retreat created by a pergola and redwood raised beds for flowers and edibles in the backyard. This garden features a succulent plant giveaway on a “first come, first served” basis. Quantities are limited
The third upalley garden is “Peaches’ Hideaway,” named in honor of the property owners’ beloved pig named Peaches.This property, the largest one on this tour, is a quintessential wine country estate, with a pool, shaded bocce ball court and outdoor living and entertaining spaces, all offering views the Napa County hills including the Palisades. The residence is an original country farmhouse, with historical roots to the 1840s. The vineyard is planted with old-vine zinfandel rootstock that dry-farmed and supplies the grapes for the property’s Canard Cellar wines. This property will be the location for two hour-longompost workshops from 10-11 a.m. and noon to 1 p.m. A separate and in-advance sign-up is required for these workshops.
The next two tour stops are in St. Helena. The “Smart Garden Design” is the first of this duo. It is a cohesive blend of a wild, natural landscape blended with a cultivated ornamental horticulture garden. The Master Gardener—property owner of this garden emphasized that year-round blooms and horticultural interest was a top priority to him and his family while the designing this garden, which primarily relied on drought tolerant plants. A hidden but important part of this garden it its irrigation system.
The irrigation controllers of this system are remotely connected to a satellite system that monitors weather conditions, soil moisture and such. Based on that data, the schedules are adjusted and/or the irrigation system is turned on. It takes the guess work out of watering.
The second St. Helena garden is the “Family Getaway Garden.” Five generations have called this property home since 1932. Its current steward, a Master Gardener, is a fourth generation of this Italian heritage family who has incorporated into her garden her great-grandparents’ prized olive tree, grafted with two different varieties of olives. Contrasting with these traditional elements is the contemporary style residence and garden beds filled with native plants. These indigenous plants have attracted quail into the garden. A California Native Plant Society plant sale takes place at this site during the tour.
The sixth showcase garden, “Tranquil Haven,” is in Yountville. This small, corner lot property reflects the design principles and philosophies of the Greek and Roman garden with its symmetrical architectural elements and structures, art, sheared and shapes topiaries, cypress and even a mature olive tree planted in a galvanized metal planter. A unifying element to this garden is its green and white color palette, although purples, blue and yellow touches scattered about this garden.At this venue, the Master Gardeners will be demonstrating how-to train ornamental plants and prune roses.
The 2017 UC Master Gardeners’ garden tour will provide an opportunity to not only explore six private gardens, learn about a wide array of gardening topics, discover fun do-it-yourself projects and find inspiration to create a beautiful garden.