18th ANNUAL GARDEN TOUR
Every April, rain or shine, you can look forward to the Folsom Garden Club’s Annual Garden Tour. Always held on the last weekend in April, the Garden Tour features the finest Folsom gardens for you to visit and explore.
Each year, we present six or seven gorgeous gardens, choosing a range of different styles and designs. What’s your fancy? Do you love a large outdoor kitchen with all the bells and whistles? Or a swoon-worthy swimming pool? How about a cute and colorful cottage-style garden? Or a tranquil oasis that’s a plant lover’s dream? Modern design or traditional glamour? Gardens that showcase clever ideas, beautifully executed, are our specialty.
Throughout the gardens, you’ll find Master Gardeners on hand to answer your gardening questions, and artists painting in the gardens. We have a Plant Sale too, loaded with horticultural treasures at bargain prices. And then there’s our famous Bake Sale, which offers amazingly yummy delights. (Insider tip: the Bake Sale always sells out fast, so get there early before the tasty treats disappear.)
The Garden Tour is on Saturday and Sunday from 11:00AM to 4:00PM. You can order your ticket via PayPal through our website or purchase them at designated Folsom retailers. Ages 16 and over require a ticket—the little kiddos get in free. Your ticket includes a full description of each garden, maps, a list of our beloved sponsors, plus information (like where to stop for lunch) to help you enjoy the Garden Tour to the fullest.
Meander around Jim and Sarah’s garden and be sure to notice the hardscape. Jim installed the front walkway using large stonework pavers, the stone bench, fire pit and other stonework. The garden has a the large outdoor kitchen with barbecue, pizza oven, sink and long bar which he constructed. The backyard has several seating areas including a large table under a pergola with heaters and chairs in front of the lion’s head fountain. Roses, geraniums, white jasmine and other blooming plants provide color. A tall trellis with paths circling it allows tomatoes to grow upward. Plum trees line the fence to one side of the property. Behind the fire pit is a lemon verbena that Jim purchased as a small plant a few years ago from the Folsom Garden Club. Check out Jim’s “bomb shelter” shed near the front gate that he built to store lumber and other items. The walls are stucco; the doors stained wood. As you exit the property through the side fence, notice the artsy trellis in the small garden patch.
“There’s not a straight line in the garden,” said Judy. Planters are irregularly shaped and walkways curve in the side and back yards. Judy and Jack moved into the newly built home in October 2015 and the initial landscaping for the back yard was completed in March/April 2016. In the front yard, the couple added a dry creek, new groundcover and plants and, in a corner, geraniums, succulents and cacti. Judy’s favorite spot is the vegetable garden in the backyard with its two irregular-shaped planters – three feet high with flat stones for sitting – and vertical planters next to the fence. There is also a large bronze PVC pipe with pockets of herbs and its own water source. Jack’s favorite spot is the rose garden in a large mounded area in the center of the yard surrounded by a stone wall that serves as another seating area. He’s the rose gardener, Judy tends to the vegetables, and they do everything else together. In one side yard is a barbecue, bistro table, chairs and gardens and in another corner of the yard is a pond-less waterfall. There are several spots to sit and enjoy the gardens, and there are stories behind the lemon tree, jade plants, and other greenery Judy brought from former homes in Palo Alto and San Francisco.
Louise and Armando bought their home with its established garden four years ago. She loved the 100-year old oak tree whose branches stretched over the roof and provided shade and privacy. However, 1-1/2 years later, heavy rains caused the oak to fall and take out six other trees with it. That converted most of their yard from shady to sunny. Louise replanted entire sections of her garden. The hardscape – a large circular patio – was already there as was the dogwood and well-established trees. There are around 25 Japanese maples. Louise added blue spruce, red maple and dogwood plus guavas and quite a few colorful Abutilon (Japanese flowering maple/Chinese lanterns). Pineapple sage with red flowers dot the garden which also has columbine, delphinium and fox glove. Two colors that Louise plays up are red (the archway leading from the front to back yard and the bridge from lawn to planted area) and blue (the several pots in the center of the patio). There are two fountains that one of the former homeowners put in and another made of rocks that Armando built. Louise has themes for back yard areas: the rose garden, shade garden, Japanese or Asian garden, and cottage garden.
Most of the landscape and hardscape was there when Jim and Barbara bought their home four years ago. However, they’ve tweaked a few things. The formal front yard with boxwood and Chinese fringe plant is highlighted with a Japanese maple. In the back of the house, they liked the creek, the different levels in the backyard, the various textures and different shades of green. They can seat a total of 25 people as the levels offer numerous places to sit and socialize. The various areas include a deck, outdoor kitchen, fireplace area, pool with waterfall, and a lower level which is perfect for a putting green edged with groundcover roses. Check out the creek which flows from a neighborhood park through grates and to the opposite side of the backyard. Podocarpus and sky pencil holly border the seating area by the pool. The contrast of colors in the garden is evident in the red-flowered crepe myrtle and purple lantana. And don’t miss the very clever rock critter near the entrance to the yard.
When Sally and Paul moved into their home 2-1/2 years ago, there were only a few trees and patches of dead grass in the front yard. It was a house that needed some serious TLC to be brought up to the potential Sally and Paul imagined. None of the design was there but Sally, the gardener in the family, took care of that. Her inspiration is HGTV and gardening is one of her passions. She and Paul like the various textures of the plants and the hardscape. There’s a variety of greenery from Japanese maples to small olive trees to basil. To save water, they opted for artificial turf with a putting green in the center of the largest lawn. The large patio has several seating areas, including chairs in front of the fireplace where they enjoy morning coffee and reading the newspaper. There is a swing in one corner of the yard (a favorite spot), an outdoor kitchen with bar, seating around a Folsom High School Bulldog fire pit, and chairs under a large pergola. Sally chose all of the plants except for the established trees and she designed planters with rock walls and flat stones for seating. There’s enough space and seating for 150 people.
The Baker’s family philosophy of gardening is simple. “We want everything to be useful, either by providing shade or fruit or flowers.” There are spring flowers from a lilac that has been grown by three generations and shade from the Chinese pistache that also gives privacy and color. Both the front and back yards provide plenty to eat thanks to the pink grapefruit, almond, pomegranate, fig, lemon, lime, orange and olive trees as well as vegetables and herbs. Planting on the property was a challenge for the family. The home was built in 1997 on dredge tailings from gold mining and only 4-inches of soil topped the rocks in the gardens. Some areas drain properly, others drain too fast and others not at all. The front landscaping is natural and native; the large backyard has several fruit and other trees, a rose garden, wood pizza oven and several seating areas. A favorite spot is the old swing where family members can sit, be still, listen to the birds and the wind in the trees, and enjoy the view of the bluffs.
The Murer House and Learning Center is a historic landmark in the city of Folsom. It was the personal residence of builder Guiseppe “Joe” Murer from Crespano del Grappa, Italy, who purchased the property in 1921 and designed and built the home in 1925. The grounds include the historic house, a museum, Joe’s workshop and a bocce court. Murer also designed and constructed other buildings including the Hotel Folsom, a fire house, post office and other shops in the historic Folsom area. Murer landscaped the property around his home, focusing on fruit and nut trees. Look for winter pear, Bing cherry, apricot, pineapple guava, tangerine, pomegranate, lemon and carob, as well as English walnut, hazelnut and chestnut. There is also a grape arbor built by Murer with six varietals of Concord grapes. The garden is maintained by volunteers. Murer Learning Center offers several classes including Italian cooking, Limoncello and Italian language lessons. It’s also the site of the annual Camellia Day festival in February and Lavender Day in June.
Our Garden Tour is our major fundraiser, and it benefits our Scholarships and Grants programs. The money we raise in Folsom is distributed locally. Our Grants program has funded local horticultural projects for schools, historical preservation groups, and local non profits that have gardens such as the food bank and the zoo. Check out the Grants section under the What We Do tab for details. Our Scholarships go to local college students studying horticulture or a related field. Details about Scholarships are found under the What We Do tab as well.
Attending the Garden Tour is a total win-win. You’ll have a wonderful time, enjoy a fun day with family and friends, get great gardening ideas, and make a meaningful contribution that will beautify, uplift, and educate our community.