Old City Cemetery Gardens

For a few weeks I’ve been reading about the new guidelines the city of Sacramento has issued in Old City Cemetery. The recent designation of the gold rush era cemetery has triggered new rules that would require the many historic roses planted there to be removed or drastically cut back. The new guidelines state that to better preserve the stone monuments and head stones the city has ordered arbors, trellises, and decorative arches to be removed and plants be removed from plots. Markers and monuments now need to be visible in all directions. No plants of any type can be draping a headstone and plants can not be planted closer that twelve inches to headstones. A recent news article reported that so far about 200 rosebushes had been severely cut back and 10 bushes removed. Another 75 – 100 bushes likely will need to be relocated.

This cemetery was established in 1849 when Captain John Sutter donated acreage for this purpose, and thousands of early settlers are buried here.  Over the years the cemetery expanded to its nearly 60 acres.  The grounds were landscaped in the Victorian garden style that was popular at that time. For decades the graves and gardens have co-existed, and have been lovingly cared for by volunteers. Many of the antique roses were carried in wagon trains by early pioneers to California. This world famous rose garden features more than 500 varieties of roses. Several of these can only be found in this cemetery garden which contains the largest collection of rare and endangered roses in the United States.

Never having visited this particular cemetery, I wanted to see for myself what all the controversy was about. Won’t you join me as I wander?IMG_8601IMG_8604IMG_8598IMG_8592IMG_8574IMG_8579IMG_8586IMG_8587IMG_8588IMG_8564IMG_8562IMG_8561IMG_8555IMG_8551IMG_8556IMG_8558It really is quite charming and full of character. The roses most certainly enhance the beauty of this cemetery garden that is the final resting place for over 25,000 individuals. I can bet that the garden volunteers are frantically doing their best to propagate and relocate these historical jewels. I wish them much success with that endeavor.

There will be an Open Garden event on April 9th from 9:30 – 2:00. This may be the last time to view the climbing roses as they are now.

In the Garden

Happy first day of spring!
IMG_8178I’ve spent a good portion of yesterday and today working in the yard. Nothing glamorous, just putting down a new layer of top soil, feeding plants, taking inventory of what I need to replace, and cleaning up garden beds. This time of year it’s easy to lose myself out there. Hours pass quickly, and before I know it it’s late afternoon. There’s so much to do, but somehow it doesn’t feel like work (until the soreness kicks in the next day!) amidst the glory of nature’s reawakening. Isn’t it remarkable to watch what’s blooming from day to day? Here are a few scenes that caught my eye.IMG_8172IMG_8244IMG_8238I must be in a purple-y mood!

If you haven’t noticed already, I have an appreciation for quotes. I keep journals of passages from books that speak to me, along with favorite quotes. Through the years, I’ve added some inspiration in the garden by writing some quotes I love on rocks. I simply write with a sharpie and then spray them with a clear protective spray. They need to be re-done each year, and that was another bit of work (play!) I was doing this weekend.IMG_8233IMG_8230IMG_8231IMG_8232IMG_8239IMG_8234Suddenly our surroundings are bursting into bloom. Each time I’m out driving I’m noticing the emerald green of the hills swathed with poppies, singing loudly. Miracles are happening everywhere we look! What’s catching your eye right now?

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.

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.

San Luis Obisbo Children’s Garden

Not long ago I had the good fortune to be visiting one of my favorite cities, San Luis Obisbo, along the central California coast. While there, I spent a relaxing morning at the beautiful Botanical Garden. It’s true, that during my travels, looking for interesting gardens to visit is always high on my priority list, but because of my background in the child development field, it’s impossible for me to hide my excitement when I come across a thoughtfully and well designed children’s garden, such as this. I loved strolling through the botanical gardens, but this was a surprise bonus!


I wandered alone with a big smile on my face, wishing I had a couple of little ones with me to explore the alphabet soup garden, kitchen garden, the sensory garden, the herb spiral garden, and more.


Look at the tree stumps painted to look like toad stools!


A tree with low branches and even an invitation to climb. What child could possibly resist?


This little fort is called the Oak Den Hideaway.


Around the bend, I came across the Zoo Garden planted with Monkey Paws, Cat Mint, Lion’s Tail, etc.


Oh, look at this Dig It Garden and all the tools!



Why, there’s even a worm box to learn about vermiculture!


Here’s the sensory garden. How many colors can you find? Can you find a plant that is fuzzy? How does that leaf smell? Can you describe the way lemon balm tastes? Oh, and listen… do you hear the birds overhead? It’s all here.IMG_3702

The entire garden is made up of useful and edible plants.IMG_3701Well, it goes without saying that this enchanting hands-on environment was created by people who know children very well. What a delightfully fun space for children to explore and experience nature and gardening!