Tag Archives: Valley Churches United garden tour

Take a Virtual Tour of 5 Enchanting Scotts Valley Gardens

The Vineyard Garden

I never miss the annual garden tour sponsored by Valley Churches United. Who wouldn’t be mesmerized by strolling through a beautiful local garden? Plus the proceeds from this fund raiser stay here to provide food and other services to our neighbors in need. This year’s tour is being presented as a virtual video tour and I can assure you it’ll be the best 30 minutes of your day. Enjoy these gardens online at VCUM.org or Valley Churches United Missions Facebook page and please donate to help this worthy cause.

I’ve watched this year’s virtual garden tour several times already. Each time I come away with another great landscaping idea, new tree variety, gardening tip and fresh inspiration. I’ve visited two of the gardens before so I have first hand knowledge of how special they are but the other three were new to me and are fabulous, too. The photography is excellent in the video and I especially enjoyed the aerial photography.

The Vineyard Garden

The first garden on the tour is Corbett and Sheri’s Vineyard Garden. This couple, over the past 25 years, have transformed their property into a plant lovers dream. They are truly plant connoisseurs including trees in their garden such as Shishigashira and Full Moon Japanese maples which are trained to show off their exquisite foliage and shape. Among the other beautiful trees that are featured among the different garden rooms are Chinese Fringe tree and the unusual Dove tree which is also called the Hankerchief tree. You’ll see why this tree is so named when you watch the video. This garden is filled with color from exbury azaleas, smoke bush, roses and Plum Delight loropetaum as well as a generous serving of white flowering shrubs like doublefile viburnum. Sitting areas, patios and water features abound amidst the veggie garden and the vineyard. This garden and the others will be featured on next year’s actual garden tour in May so don’t miss it.

Barry’s Garden is called the Forest Garden although the redwoods are just a part of this lovely garden. Barry bought the Tudor house in 2000 and has transformed it into a wonderland filled with beautiful paths, a formal garden in the front, a pond, 71 tree orchard, potting shed, green house, vegetable garden, shade pergola, gazebo and many other features that make this garden user and loved by his two dogs.

Bearded iris among the antiques.

Jim and Irene Cummins Iris Farm is one of those places you could spend all day and never see everything. I’ve spent a bit of time painting in this garden. Beside the stunning bearded iris the Cummins grow and propagate, this couple have collected an impressive collection of farm implements and tools. The property was originally a turkey farm owned by Irene’s family back in 1949 but the old barn dates back to the late 1800’s when it was a stop for the stagecoaches to change horses. This property is filled with hundreds of bird houses which Irene collects and everywhere you turn there are blooming irises among vintage collectibles.

Just one of the beautiful vignette’s in Robby’s garden.

Robby’s Zen Garden is another garden I’ve had the pleasure to visit often. This talented gardener is eager to share his vision and techniques to keep it mole and gopher free. As a deer resistant, low maintenance gardener Robby has created a soothing space complete with a hand made Japanese garden arch called a Tori. His shade garden is filled with tree ferns and the sitting area under the oaks beckons you to stop and enjoy the birds. There is a fire pit area plus a tree swing to enjoy before you head up to the rock garden and the cactus garden. This year round garden features tough but beautiful plants and there is something to admire everywhere you turn.

The last garden on the virtual tour is the Pool Garden of Robert and Monica. Some interesting facts about this garden include how the existing rock was jack hammered out for the pool and patio area. Heavy equipment scarred the rock and the rock that remains, which serves as a retaining wall, looks like it came straight from the Sierra. Filled with lavender, lantana, red hot poker, Monica’s grandmother’s bearded iris and other hummingbird attractors this garden beckons you to stop by the pool under the vine covered pergola and enjoy a cold beverage.

This is just a snippet of inspiration and ideas you’ll glean from these gardens on the virtual tour. Please donate what you can to help the food pantry of Valley Churches United.

Enchanting Gardens in the Valley

The LoFranco garden

It’s not everyday one gets the opportunity to visit an estate here in our neck of the woods. So if this sounds interesting to you get yourself a ticket for the upcoming Valley Churches United Garden Tour on Saturday June 22nd from 10am to 5pm . Enchanting Gardens in the Valley will showcase 7 beautiful gardens in Ben Lomond and Felton and directly benefit their year-round food pantry. You’ll come away in awe of the gorgeous landscapes some of our local gardeners have created.

You can visit the gardens in any order but I started at the largest garden near Quail Hollow. This 4 acre garden features a koi pond and waterfall in the front which is pretty spectacular in itself. But the back garden features a lake. Yes, I said a lake with a dock and an island and a huge waterfall. The owner, Vince LoFranco, told me that the only plant on the property 25 years ago was one redwood. The back acreage was then a spring fed marsh. They first had an engineer draw up plans to drain the boggy area but on second thought decided to go with nature and create the pond. When you visit look for Shadow, the black cat, the huge tadpoles in the lake and the blooming perennials, Japanese maples and grasses among all the other horticultural delights.

The Sikes garden

The Sikes garden was next on my list. Jeanne allows visitors to walk through the main living and kitchen areas as they are extensions of her garden. Using red as her primary color along with touches of vivid yellow, orange and blue with lots of white this garden features something to admire at every turn. There are many sitting areas to enjoy under the massive oaks. Jeanne adds new decorations all the time so if you visited this garden on the VCU tour a couple years ago there is a ton of newly created vintage garden art. Don’t miss it.

The Connolly garden

Sit a while in the retro metal glider bench at the Connolly garden next. Lisa told me that the property was “just dirt” when it was purchased 20 years ago in the Ben Lomond sand hills. When the front lawn was removed it created an opportunity to add low water use plants. The back garden features a beautiful river rock pool and spa. Under the shade of the oak trees flourish perennials and a DIY manzanita branch fence that “keeps the chickens on the other side” according to Lisa. There are many take-away ideas to glean from this garden that would be do-able for you, too.

The Swan garden

The Swan residence will keep your head spinning. Anatola has created multiple garden rooms that flow from one area to the other. Her modern garden design features hundreds of perennial shrubs and flowers mostly in shades of white with variegated silver and blue accents. Dozens of Japanese maples grow lush under the oaks and giant birch. Of the many tips she shared I liked the one about instant “weathering” of a lattice to screen the neighbor using vinegar, baking soda and steel wool. The screen turned out great.

The Moran garden

The Brook Lomond Iris Farm is home to Chris and Rick Moran who pack much more than the stately tall bearded iris on their property. A few iris might still be blooming and the compost bins working hard. Take in the front succulent and cactus garden featuring Chris’ renowned pottery to start your tour. The back garden features an organic vegetable garden, redwood fairy circle retreat, artist studio and a lush lawn that survives without sprinklers.

The Ross garden

Not to be missed is the garden of Adra Ross. Her huge spring fed koi pond is so big it has it’s own beach. Having a silting area at one keeps the water clean. On the day of the tour a local koi and pond expert will be on hand to answer questions. This is a huge 5 acre garden featuring many gardens rooms around the entire property. It’s a National Wildlife Certified Wildlife Habitat so you’ll come away with ideas and inspiration of your own.

And be sure to visit Hallcrest Vineyard in Felton to enjoy the perennial planters, vegetable beds and enjoy the view of the meadow from the tasting room. The Schumachers bought the property in1987 and have gardened here ever since. Take a lunch and purchase a glass of their renowned premium wine.

Get your $25 tickets for the tour at many local nurseries or Valley Churches United in Ben Lomond.