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PostHeaderIcon Behind the Scenes of a Garden Tour

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Clayton Historical Society had their annual Garden Tour earlier this month and I was privileged to represent the Contra Costa County Master Gardeners as a volunteer.  I was assigned to the residence of Neal and Cathy Richmond in Concord. Neal and Cathy’s garden is truly amazing.  The artistic use of color, texture and creativity, coupled with the gorgeous view of the Suisun Bay, was breathtaking.  It was apparent that Neal was somehow connected to the landscaping trade, and as I later learned, he is the owner of Richmond Landscaping Management.

As people arrived, each volunteer and guest was exuberantly greeted by Mattie, the family’s yellow lab. Mattie had a great time meandering through the pathways and secret gardens searching out lizards and other critters.

It was difficult to greet the guests touring the garden because immediately after you said “welcome,” they were in awe over the spectacular view and kaleidoscope of color blanketing the one-acre of landscape. Most guests said “hi”, and just kept walking down the path in a daze muttering to themselves, "Oh my!  Look at this view and the beautiful garden.”

Since this was my first volunteer position since graduating from the Master Gardener Program in February, I attempted to follow the lead of the guru master gardener, Diane Martinelli, who was kind and patient with me.  I was familiar with most of the common plants, but there were so many unusual plants, I depended on her to answer all of the questions.  It was a great learning experience.  

I guess this picture, looking north towards Mt. Vaca and Suisun Bay, with Pride of Madiera in the foreground, says it all.   If you are curious, the large purple plant on the left  in the picture below is Pride of Madeira (Echium candicans). 

Guests appeared to be captivated with the artistic design of the planting beds, one of which is incorporated into the lawn area in the backyard.  In the following picture, you get a glimpse of the circular bed that includes a picturesque orange wallflower with a variety of grasses and other plants. 

 The beds along the pathway include a multitude of daylillies, lavender, African daisies, yarrow and rosemary (to name a few).  My favorite is the large plant with spectacular vibrant pink flowers (in the pathway behind the orange wallflower).  This plant is Calandrinia grandiflora, and is a suculent.

I would be amiss if I were to finish this article without mentioning the charming array of garden art displayed throughout the garden pathways and sitting areas, as well as the abundance of wildlife who visit each day. Pictured below are orange wallflower with grasses.

I was so enthralled with the garden; I was inspired to get to work in my own garden when I arrived home. Happy Gardening!--JM


Jody McPheeters is a retired executive who lives in San Ramon. She is a published author, freelance writer, and Certified Master Gardener. To learn more about her landscapes and garden designs, please visit her website at www.yourgardeningcoach.com.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 25 May 2011 16:31)

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