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Elegance grows in the Restuccia garden
Two of the three older olive trees in front of the Restuccia home are seen in this picture. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

• WHAT: 14th annual Ripon Garden Club September Stroll
• WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• TICKETS: $18 for adults, $8 for children 12 and under. No children’s strollers, please.
• MORE INFO: Call Anita at (209) 599-3359

RIPON – The Restuccia garden featured in the 14th annual Ripon Garden Club September Stroll can be encapsulated in just one word: elegance.

It is a perfect match to the home of Michael and Mona Restuccia in the exclusive Spring Creek golf community in Ripon which is also shared by their beloved pair of Pekingese “boys,” Mojo and Dino.

Every corner, nook and cranny of the Restuccias’ private paradise exudes elegance, from the stone paver-edged property line that meets the corner curbside to the most unobtrusive cranny in the sophisticated and inviting gardens that wrap around the entire back yard and side yards. Stepping out into the slate-covered back yard surrounded by lush greeneries, blooming plant varieties and numerous colorful garden accents is like actually stepping into another part of the home with a cascading waterfall and koi-filled pond as the stunning main attraction. The water feature has a complete cast of eyeful accents which all conspire to grab one’s attention – from the mature crape myrtle next to a life-sized ivory-colored bathing beauty that reminds one of Boticelli’s Birth of Venus to one side of the waterfalls, to the host of lush greenery all around it.

The pond is not just a feast for the eyes. Through the years, wildlife visitors have made their home here to the delight of Mona Restuccia. These overstaying visitors include a frog that she has named “Kermie,” plus a host of hummingbirds and dragonflies that bathe year-round in the waterfalls.

This astounding water feature is the creation of Mona Restuccia who built the gigantic garden piece herself 14 years ago. Her latest garden project is equally impressive – laying approximately 1,400 square feet of slate in the back yards, a “grueling” job that took six months in cumulative hours to accomplish. Accentuating the slate is a meandering 150 linear feet of block wall that she also built with some help from husband Michael. The wall, which can do double duty as a seating piece – although there is more than enough elegant seating areas complete with tables and formal chairs – helps delineate and accentuate the gardens from the outdoor living areas.

One corner of the garden is a shady spot that is reserved for plants that are either awaiting “adoption” because Mona does not have a place for them in the garden’s overall scheme, or are undergoing “recovery.”

As a smiling Mona puts it, “Every garden needs a hospital or an orphanage.”

Through the years, the Restuccia gardens have gone through a constant metamorphosis. This year, one of the new things introduced was the stone paver-covered driveway of the corner property. One of the outstanding elegant features of this project is the addition of subtle lighting that illuminates the way to the front door in the evening. This was the handiwork of Loren Jessop of Yosemite Landscaping in Manteca.

“They just did a really, really good job,” Mona noted happily.

Like many in the neighborhood’s homes, the Restuccia property boasts not just one but three really old olive trees that are past the century mark in age. These trees were holdouts from the ones that used to thrive in this part of Ripon.

“This used to be an olive orchard,” Mona Restuccia said of the Spring Creek Golf Course community.