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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Fresno County Master Gardener Spring Garden Tour

Mar 25, 2020 04:29PM ● By Melissa Mendonca

How Does Your Garden Grow

April 2020
By Melissa Mendonca
Photo courtesy of Fresno County Master Gardener Association

If spring is the most beautiful time of year in the Central Valley, the Fresno County Master Gardener Association is prepared to show the community just how remarkable it can be. Its annual Spring Garden Tour will be held April 18, and members are busy sprucing up the five home gardens to be showcased as well as their one-acre Garden of the Sun demonstration garden at the south end of Reedy Park.

A fundraiser for the association, the Spring Garden Tour is also a showcase of possibilities for area home gardeners. Edible, decorative and cutting gardens will be seen, with many incorporating all three into their landscapes. Some are designed intentionally to attract birds and other wildlife, while others make innovative use of recycled metal pieces to add architectural elements to the space.

Tour publicity chair Chris Hays is excited to welcome people to the Bohigian Garden on the tour, which she describes as “an amazing home garden with an incredible orchard.” This urban farm on slightly more than half an acre boasts a stone fruit orchard, citrus, fig, grapes and a vegetable garden that flourishes year-round. It has been designed with water conservation and solar energy as core components of all production and has become an organic and environmentally friendly space that welcomes a variety of wildlife.

Gardens on the tour complement the homes of their owners, from a 1954 ranch-style house to a 1930s Spanish-style, Taylor-Wheeler home to a 1942 adobe. The Johnson Garden had 11 tons of river rock brought in for gabion walls, while the Ratzlaff Garden showcases seating areas throughout for friends and family to gather in both the front and back yards. All gardens reflect the values of the homeowners, from food production to resource conservation to wildlife attraction and areas to convene.

The garden of Trish Small and Trina Frazier reflects Small’s love of Japanese aesthetics and Frazier’s love of birds. The two removed their front lawn a few years back and are showing how a space can be transformed to attract birds and other pollinators in a calm and relaxing space.

The Master Gardener Program is facilitated by UC Cooperative Extension. Master Gardeners complete 50 hours of instruction in basic horticulture and pest management. Hays found her way to the program 20 years ago through a pruning class and has since logged more than 2,700 volunteer hours, including creating a variety of illustrations for the program.

“We have this wonderful public garden called the Garden of the Sun,” she says, noting that Master Gardeners provide a wide range of classes on “everything that has to do with the home garden and care of the garden.”

The Garden of the Sun is home to the program’s annual plant sale, which aligns with the garden tour. In fact, many plants on the garden tour will be labeled so the public can more easily find them at the plant sale. Around 90 Master Gardeners have been growing plants for sale, and thousands will be available for purchase. Master Gardeners will be on hand at the Garden of the Sun to answer questions and help buyers make the most of their plant purchases.

All gardens on the tour are within the city of Fresno, and carpooling is encouraged. Guests may visit the gardens in any order they would like, and tickets are required of all, including children. Garden locations are on the tickets. Pets are not allowed. Admission to the Garden of the Sun and plant sale are free and without need of a ticket. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

Whether you want to be inspired toward your own gardening goals or simply want to appreciate the creativity and hard work of others for the sheer beauty of it, the Master Gardener Spring Garden Tour is sure to be a wonderful way to spend a spring Saturday. Be sure to stop and smell the flowers. Then learn how to grow them yourself.

The UC Master Gardener training sessions, community events and meetings have been canceled.

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