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Private 3-acre English-style garden open May 4 for tour, tea

Stories on Stage Davis hosts special event with literary, gardening flair

The Apothecary Rose is an ancient species rose, the type that might be seen in an English country garden. Visit such a garden May 4 as part of the Stories on Stage Davis reading, garden tour and tea.

The Apothecary Rose is an ancient species rose, the type that might be seen in an English country garden. Visit such a garden May 4 as part of the Stories on Stage Davis reading, garden tour and tea. Kathy Morrison

Make reservations now for an “English garden tour” complete with English-style tea service – all set in Davis and in support for a local literary event.

Stories on Stage Davis will host this special garden tour and tea, set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 4. The tour will be guided by Jim Salyard, horticulture director of the famous Filoli Gardens. Salyard has a special connection with this local garden; while a student at UC Davis, he worked in it. Also leading the tour will be Joseph Rothleutner, director of gardens of Golden Gate Park, including the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, Conservatory of Flowers and Japanese Tea Garden.

“This local 3-acre Davis garden is a mature English Country Garden that has been on a Pence Art Gallery garden tour three times over the last 30 years,” say the organizers. “It consists of countless rooms each with a different personality, such as the Elderberry room – created under the canopy of a mature elderberry tree – or the Wellington Room – created by a rectangular planting of redwood trees that are pruned into a wall as the English frequently do.

“This year, the owner – recognizing the California water problems – removed a very large front lawn and has established a low water garden,” they added. “While it is in its infancy, it should be inspirational. ... Finally, the Davis Flower Arrangers will be placing amazing bouquets throughout the garden.”

Among the many unusual featured plants: 6-foot-tall calla lilies with blooms more than 1 foot across.

Following the tour, patrons will enjoy a sit-down English tea service and raffle. (Prizes include some of those giant lilies as well as potted succulents.)

Guests also will be treated to a reading by Tim Gaffaney, Stories on Stage Davis casting director, of an original story. That’s what Stories on Stage is all about – dramatic readings of original stories by (often) local writers.

“Stories on Stage Davis is an event that started over 10 years ago,” the organizers explain. “They present emerging and established authors then hire actors to read the selections. The combination of brilliant writing and brilliant acting has produced some magical evenings. Over the years, we have presented a number of best selling authors, plus many emerging authors who are now established


Tickets are $50 apiece and advance reservations are a must. The organizers do this event the old-fashioned way: Patrons need to mail a check to get the tickets.

Mail your check, made out to “Stories on Stage Davis,” to English Garden Tour, 36891 Russell Blvd., Davis, CA 95616. With your payment, please include your name, phone number, email and address.

For more information on Stories on Stage Davis:


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Garden Checklist for week of April 21

This week there’s plenty to keep gardeners busy. With no rain in the immediate forecast, remember to irrigate any new transplants.

* Weed, weed, weed! Get them before they flower and go to seed.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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