Garden Glory at Maple Rock

Maple Rock Garden in Penryn, California is a private estate on thirty acres, only open to the public on special occasions a few times each year. I can’t write about Maple Rock without mentioning that Scott Paris, owner of High Hand Nursery in Loomis resides here.

High Hand Nursery is one of my absolute favorite destination nurseries (a little over an hour drive from my home) in any season. The nursery’s plants and trees are of exceptional quality and displayed so beautifully. I always come away with ideas for my own gardens, as well as treasures. If I’m going through a difficult time, I’ve found that wandering through the park like setting is just the tonic I need. I leave fully restored.

Four of the acres at Maple Rock are used for growing fruits and vegetables for High Hand Cafe’s seasonal dishes. If you go to the nursery plan to eat at the wonderful cafe. Everything I’ve tried is delicious. It’s always a busy place, though. Remember to make a reservation.

A few friends and I considered ourselves so fortunate to attend A Vintage Harvest, at Maple Rock Gardens, an event of antique vendors last weekend. Browsing the antiques, strolling the magnificent private garden and catching up with good friends – all the makings for a great day. Come along with us.IMG_6110IMG_6112 IMG_6113Love this idea. A shallow pot of succulents is set inside a hollowed out pumpkin and then a little moss is added.IMG_6115 IMG_6117 So much to see in the vendor section. And now, on to the gardens. We came across water features, meandering paths, formal gardens, and a wealth of inspiration with every step we took.IMG_6118 IMG_6119 IMG_6131I adore this sweet little bird house. We peeked inside the entrance hole and could see twigs and nest material. Wish we could’ve seen the birdhouse resident!
IMG_6135 Everywhere we turned were fantastic color combinations of foliage.IMG_6136 IMG_6137 IMG_6138 Don’t you just want to sit on that bench for awhile and take a deep breath?IMG_6142 IMG_6156 IMG_6157The property features one of the largest garden railroads in Northern California. Watching it just made me smile.IMG_6165 IMG_6144 IMG_6146 Did you see it?IMG_6149 IMG_6150 IMG_6151 IMG_6153Even with hundreds of people in attendance the gardens evoked such peace and tranquility. Thank you to Scott and Family. We were overwhelmed by the beauty.

Fairytale Town Fun


IMG_6032Fairytale Town in Sacramento has provided families great fun for over fifty years. This storybook park featuring live farm animals, gardens, and playgrounds, all beautifully maintained within two and a half acres, offers safe and unlimited enjoyment for all.

We brought our toddler aged grand children here to play a week ago and had such fun.

There are a number of gardens within the park, each one lovingly tended to. In Mr. McGregor’s Garden, Beatrix Potter’s long loved Tale of Peter Rabbit comes to life. The hands-on garden features raised beds full of seasonal vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers. What a great sensory experience! IMG_5945Child sized watering cans hanging from low hooks invite young ones to water the gardens.IMG_6031IMG_6034IMG_6033Further inside Mr. McGregor’s Garden is the Alphabet Garden. Each colorful letter of the alphabet sits alongside a plant that starts with that letter. Plants include annuals, perennials, shrubs and a few trees.IMG_5926IMG_5927IMG_5929IMG_5931IMG_5932Here is the plant list for the Alphabet Garden: Agapanthus, Bird of Paradise, Cherry Tree, Daphne, Escallonia, Feverfew, Geranium, Hummingbird Bush, Ice Plant, Jasmine, Kniphofia, Lamb’s Ear, Magnolia, Nandina, Orchid Rockrose, Pomegranate, Quince, Rose of Sharon, Sea Pink, Thyme, Umbrella Plant, Verbena, Wisteria, Xylosma, Yarrow, Zebra Grass.

What a delightful morning of wonder, magic and discovery we all had! Here’s to many more fun filled visits.

Note – Some of the photos in this post were downloaded from the website.

Sherwood Demonstration Garden

Opening day for the UCCE Master Gardeners of El Dorado County, Sherwood Demonstration Gardens was October 3rd. The garden was the brainchild of long time Master Gardener, Bob Sherwood who broke ground in 2009, but sadly passed away before the completion of this incredible garden wonderland. I visited the garden on opening day, along with throngs of others and came away with a myriad of ideas and inspiration for my own irrigation, hardscape, structures, water features and garden beds.

Yesterday, under cloudy skies and cool temperatures, I went back to take in all the sights and scents of the sixteen themed gardens once again.
IMG_5971IMG_5975The ornamental grasses knocked my socks off! Just look at this color combination.IMG_5978IMG_6013 (1)The rose garden is built around a gorgeous white gazebo and has 4 arbor entrances to the rose beds arranged in a circle. Surprisingly, the roses are still putting on their spectacular show this late into October.IMG_5998IMG_5999IMG_6006IMG_6019IMG_6010IMG_5995IMG_5985It is truly a gift to have this garden masterpiece in our own backyard. Not only is it a work of art, but a work of love, dedication and appreciation of nature.

For details about the garden, as well as a wealth of information go to the El Dorado County Master Gardener’s website.

Good Morning

Morning walk.

Cool air.

Fresh new day.


Through neighborhood, woods, trail, downtown, mountains, or beach.

Often, with a stroller. More often, with a dog on a leash.

IMG_5777On this particular day, with my beloved.IMG_5786Gentle rhythm of the waves.

Soft sand between my toes.

A heart rock.IMG_5843A tiny treasure.IMG_5784And then another.IMG_5785Souvenirs.

Centered. Grounded. Ready for the day ahead.

Nourishment for the soul.

Hope for the World

IMG_5724“But in this season, it is well to reassert that the hope of mankind rests in faith. As man thinketh, so he is. Nothing much happens unless you believe in it, and believing there is hope for the world is a way to move toward it.”

~Gladys Taber

Treasures, Unearthed

Once in awhile while working in the yard I come across something that floods my heart. My breath catches, and life pauses while memories take me back to a time when my sons were children. Recently, two little figures from yesteryear have presented themselves as I’ve been digging in the soil. I found an armless Playmobil knight character and then a few months later, a little matchbox car.

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Each, covered in dirt. Each, a treasure from so long ago. I now keep them in their current state, in a dish in our home office to remember that special time.

Those boys are grown men now, but this is the property where they spent countless hours building, creating, exploring, and discovering. We moved into our home when our children were 5 and 8 years old.  For many years forts were built in the trees. Rope swings hung from each. Hideouts were formed inside blackberry brambles. An area of our property was made into a baseball diamond for awhile, and then later it evolved into a paint ball war zone. Obstacle courses were created for bikes and then for 4 wheeling. My oldest built a large half pipe for skate boarding, and a red go cart was driven all around the property and neighborhood by two boys with wide eyed grins.

The places where they played have now been turned into gardens, wide paths and lawn areas.IMG_5611IMG_5610Five years ago my son and daughter in law were married under this pergola.IMG_5609 How quickly  time has passed. How precious were the days. The past may be gone, but it has been replaced by a wonderful future with new adventures, and best of all, once again, little ones play here.