Water collects in a pond, complete with waterlilies, in Linda Fuller's gorgeous backyard. See her garden and seven others during the Gardens of the HIlls Tour. Village Life photo by Noel Stack

Feature Photos

Tour features stunning, water-wise gardens

By From page B1 | April 30, 2014

Roses and fountains and yard art … oh my.

Guests on this year’s Gardens of the Hills tour will undoubtedly feel like they’ve traveled over the rainbow when they enter some of the county’s most beautiful yards. The annual event hosted by the Assistance League of Sierra Foothills on May 3 & 4 features eight gorgeous gardens from Shingle Springs to El Dorado Hills, plus a stop at Green Acres Nursery in Folsom.

In addition to marveling while wandering through the gardens, guests will enjoy wine tasting, art displays, refreshments and raffles. Local Author Cindy Sample will make a presentation and sell her books at one location.

Gardens run the gamut, brand new to well-established and, as Assistance League of Sierra Foothills President Vera Doettling noted, many demonstrate water-wise gardening in the wake of California’s drought. El Dorado County Master Gardeners will share their knowledge of water management and drought-resistant plants at two garden stops.

Carol and Alan Novak created their brand new garden with the drought and entertainment in mind.

“This is more of a ‘stay-cation’ backyard,” Carol said. “When we’re home we want to enjoy our yard. We’re very outside people.”

No shortage of fun, the Novak yard features a pool, putting green complete with two chip-ins, a bocce ball court, gazebo and a vegetable garden. Watch for a few critters amongst the bushes and rocks — frogs, turtles and even a whale. The couple planted their yard last year using many Mediterranean plants that grow well in El Dorado County’s climate and require little water. Carol estimates the garden features 80 varieties; she and Alan take care of the landscaping.

Looking over the fledgling yard that opens up into a green field and breathtaking view, Carol said she can’t wait for her plants to mature. “In about five years, you’ll see a big difference.”

Moving down the street to Linda and Don Fuller’s garden, guests will see how stunning a mature garden can be when you give plants room to grow and toss in an old bicycle, a bathtub, locally made iron sculptures and watering cans from England and Paris.

Linda has a degree in horticulture … and it definitely shows. Her garden features a healthy variety of Mediterranean plants set up in an English-style garden complete with arbors in full bloom, waterlilies on the pond fed by a waterfall and a secret garden. Linda’s gardening style is less manicured, more natural. “I like to plant things where you don’t have to prune them a lot,” she explained.

The result? Flourishing plants that bloom and blossom, fitting right into the landscape without looking out of place or out of control.

“It’s a lot of fun and a lot of work,” Linda said.

All the details
Assistance League of Sierra Foothills Gardens of the Hills tour takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4. It is a self-guided tour (with shuttle service to one El Dorado Hills home). Tickets are $25 per person and $10 for children 12 and younger. Purchase tickets online at sierrafoothills.assistanceleague.org or at one of the following locations: Pottery World in El Dorado Hills and Rocklin, the California Welcome Center in El Dorado Hills Town Center, Green Acres in Folsom, Caffé Santoro in Cameron Park and Winterhill Olive Oil in downtown Placerville.

Proceeds go toward Assistance League of Sierra Foothills’ programs and projects. The non-profit organization gives back to El Dorado County in several ways, including Operation School Bell, a program that provides coats and school clothes to needy children; Sports Locker, which provides sports equipment and registration scholarships to young athletes; Bags for Belongings, which provides tote bags to displaced children; Assault Survivor Kits; as well as scholarship, literacy and senior programs.

Noel Stack


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