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'Duchess Pinky' house on East Sac Garden Tour

The Duchess Pinky garden will be part of the East
Sacramento Garden Tour this year. (Photo by Michelle
Drewes, courtesy east Sacramento Garden Tour)

English garden of local legend featured during popular event

In a Mother’s Day weekend tradition, thousands of garden lovers will be walking through the Fabulous Forties on Saturday and Sunday, admiring seven private gardens usually hidden from public view.

It’s the 21st annual East Sacramento Garden Tour, a major fundraiser for David Lubin School.

“It’s a perfect family outing for Mother’s Day weekend,” said volunteer Mary Odbert, one of the tour’s organizers.

Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 on tour day. Children age 12 and younger are admitted free. Proceeds support arts, music and after-school programs at Lubin School on M Street.

During the tour, Lubin School also hosts a huge boutique of only-in-Sacramento handmade gifts and food items, great for Mother’s Day giving. More than 40 local vendors are participating.

“All the gardens are within walking distance of David Lubin School,” said Odbert. “That way, people can stroll through the neighborhood.”

Last year, more than 3,000 patrons took part in the tour, thanks in part to the “Lady Bird” house. Seen in Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-nominated movie, the big blue colonial mansion was a major draw.

This weekend’s tour features a real local celebrity, or at least her garden.

According to “intriguing neighborhood lore,” Duchess Pinky often sat on her front lawn, playing the harp and drinking champagne, Odbert said. Pinky no longer lives in the ivy-covered house with brick pillars and wrought-iron gates, but her garden is much the same – an English cottage fantasy.

Another featured stop illustrates a major modern makeover.

“The back of this lovely East Sac home was extended further into the original backyard with a remodel,” Odbert said. “The new house footprint meant that the original pool was in an inconvenient spot. (The home owners) hired Michael Glassman and Associates to redesign the yard. He and his team created a lovely hardscape that maximizes the space and completely moved the pool to the left side of the yard, which made room for dining and living areas.”

For the tour, Sacramento designer Kerrie Kelly will embellish these outdoor patio rooms, Odbert added.

Besides the gardens and boutique, the tour offers tea, wine and other refreshments at Sutter Lawn, Sacramento’s oldest private neighborhood club. (No reservations are necessary for tea this year.) Parked in front of the homes will be vintage cars borrowed from the California Automobile Museum.

“We tried this last year and (the car buffs) enjoyed it as much as we did,” Odbert said.

Start the tour at Lubin School, 3535 M St., Sacramento. Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and 12.

Details and tickets:

This shows a portion of a Michael Glassman-redesigned backyard that will be on the East Sacramento Garden Tour. (Photo by Mary Odbert, courtesy East Sacramento Garden Tour)


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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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