19th 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.
While Folsom’s renowned soil was a problem for the Knapp’s plants, it did provide the rocks that Guy turned into walls and that he used in garden borders. Rona and Guy, who designed their garden, opted for planting succulents and other greenery in pots and good soil. A lot of things were “trial and error” but rosemary, rock roses and asparagus fern are doing well. In one corner of the backyard are steps of decomposed granite and rock that lead to the upper level. A treehouse is almost hidden by the various trees and plants. Birdhouses, rock critters and old rusty garden tools that Rona and Guy have collected dot the garden and the fences. The water feature on the lower level is Rona’s favorite and also favored by the birds who take baths in it. Guy’s favorite spot is a small slab of granite from their kitchen to which he attached legs and made into a bench where he can sit and take afternoon breaks. Their backyard is very welcoming yet very private and secluded.
“Gardening is my therapy,” said homeowner Janice who designed and did almost all the planting in her large garden. She moved into the new home in 2014 and, with her father, planted the front yard in tribute to her mom on her mom’s birthday. The theme of her garden is Tuscan and there are a few different areas. The side yard is a mini-orchard with raspberries, boysenberries, blueberries, multi-stem apple, a peach, nectarine, multi-stem apricot and pluot, table grapes and clementine. A dwarf lemon and dwarf lime are in back. Her favorite spot is sitting on the bench in the mini-orchard and enjoying the fruits of her labor. The front yard has a border of lavender. In one area of her backyard is a “jungle” with tropical plants including palm trees and several canna lilies. Star jasmine grows along a wire fence that extends across the entire backyard. On the veranda is a hoya vine that’s almost 70 years old. It was given to her by a family member.
There was nothing in the garden when Jim and Sharon Wilkes moved into their home on July 4, 1999. “It was a blank palette,” Sharon said. She checked out a stack of library books because she wanted everything: pool, gazebo, ponds and Japanese garden. “The backyard is an eclectic garden with one of everything,” she said. Stone paths with ground covers lead to a gazebo and further back to her little sanctuary, a decorative bench tucked among the greenery where she can sit and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the whole yard. Lush plants, trees, florals and camellias are nearby and along the path to the secret garden that is through a hedge and down steps to a lower area with vegetables, grape vines, calla lilies and a horse-shoe pit. Husband Jim, who said “Sharon is the gardener; I’m just the hired help,” likes to sit at a patio table and talk to the large koi and butterfly fish in the pond. Fish-friendly greens float inside a PVC pipe ring on one side of the pond and create more interest. This is indeed an eclectic sanctuary.
A desire for privacy and a redwood forest in the backyard was the primary focus when Bill and Kimala Berdan moved into their home 25 years ago. There was just a patio and weeds up to their waists then, but now they have privacy plus a few secret areas. A hammock, big enough for Bill, Kimala and dog Mishka, hangs between two redwood trees on the west side and is hidden by foliage and tree trunks. Behind the swing is a hardly noticeable, very large tree house secured between two redwoods. While Kimala’s favorite spot is the swing where she can sit and look out over the garden, Bill’s fave is sitting by the fire pit near the pool. The Berdans host parties and bunco groups in their yard which has patio tables and chairs plus what Kimala calls two “old people” rockers near a door to the house. There are also several pieces of clever garden art around the yard. Privacy is provided by several redwoods, Podocarpus, pear trees and weeping cedar, which also makes the backyard several degrees cooler than the front.
Just one old oak tree was in the yard when John and Heather Dykes moved into their new home which sits on almost a half-acre. It was the only thing there and now it’s dying, John said. But he’s caring for the 40-foot tall tree. After moving into their house in 2003, John raked a path all the way around the huge back yard. It meanders from deck to back fence and around the various garden areas the Dykes have created. It’s a garden of contrasts. Visitors will see several scenic sitting and planted areas around the yard which has a stream on one side and a small river on the other with water probably coming from Baldwin Dam. There’s also a cherub, other figures, fountain and a windmill which John said is their cell-phone charging station. John’s favorite place changes. It was a small patio with an umbrella above wrought iron table and chairs; currently it’s the greenhouse with dwarf lemons and new plants. The yard has lemon, mandarin, apple, grapefruit and nectarine trees, vegetable garden, ivy, flowering shrubs, other greenery and 19 redwood trees. And that old oak tree.
Three neighbors on Young Wo Circle are opening their adjoining gardens for the tour. People will enter at one end, stroll through the gardens and then exit. Gates provide easy access between the gardens which are shady and share a continuous stone wall at the rear. Those are about the only similarities. Each garden has different features.
Garden No. 6A —
Garden No. 6A was designed by a professional landscaper, Suzette Odiozil, Greenhart Landscape, and is easy to take care of, the owner said. The small backyard features an upper deck which provides a panoramic view of the area. There’s also a water feature up there.
Garden No. 6B —
The middle garden, No. 6B, has a pool, a wooden deck and a larger patio on one side of the house. Throughout the garden, around the pool and on the walls are many pieces of garden art, mostly critters such as frogs, a swan, small characters and fish. The owners enjoy sitting on the patio, looking out over the garden and listening to the waterfalls.
Garden No. 6C —
It’s a couple of steps up to garden No. 6C where there are a Lisbon lemon, mandarin trees and oleanders. The owner ripped out the lawn in back and created a walk of gravel and red pavers. A small fountain which she inherited from her neighbor is planted with succulents. In another area is a herb garden with rosemary, chives, parsley, thyme and sage.
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.