Only a handful of people in Manteca know Nancy Myatt as a china painter. But in the international world of porcelain painting, as this ancient art discipline is also called, her name is well known as an artist who paints her original designs on a wide variety of subjects and objects ranging from necklaces, vases, and decorative chargers.
Her home in Manteca attests to the artistic ability that catapulted her to international fame. Glazed porcelain objects such as plates, bowls, statues, and vases decorated with her original paintings are the centerpieces of her home decor.
The few who know of Myatt's china painting — or porcelain painting — are those who attend the classes she gives twice a week in Woodbridge at Del Webb, the age-restricted community in north Manteca. Her artistic specialty will be given more exposure on Saturday, May 11, when the Manteca Garden Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Myatt's home is one of the six gardens featured this year. In addition to opening her garden to paying tour guests, she will also have a table displaying several of her painted glazed porcelain objects which will be on sale. Half of the sale proceeds will go to the garden club whose community projects include tree planting on Arbor Day at various public parks, maintaining the rose garden at the Manteca Senior Center, and improving the landscaping of such public places as the Manteca Public Library, City Hall, and along the bike paths.
The garden tour, held annually on the eve of Mother's Day, is the club's only fund-raiser during the year.
Visitors will find several attractions in the Myatt garden. One of them is a pair of huge split-leaf philodendrons which, despite their age of more than half a century, continues to thrive. The two plants though appear to be just one gigantic philodendron dominating her back patio. In a rare gesture, the plant produced two blossoms at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately the petals are gone, with just the large green floral stems of the two blossoms remaining. The flowers are like white calla lilies, only larger.
Another attraction in Myatt's garden is a pair of rose trees in one corner of her back yard. These are not tree roses, explained Myatt. In fact, when her husband planted them — there were originally three of them - they were just your regular one-gallon-sized plant. In the last six years since they were planted, only two remains. But they have since grown bigger and taller to the point they are now towering several feet above the fence, to Myatt's delight.
A sentimental stand-out in her back yard is a heart-shaped Hens and Chicks succulent grouping which her late husband, Bill, who was a Korean War veteran, planted for her.
This fall promises to be a fruitful one, literally, for Myatt. A big area along two sides of her back fence is dominated by several varieties of fruit trees and fruit vines. Her apricots, plums and peaches are laden with fruit, as are her grape vines and raspberry which is now covered with attractive flowers.
Myatt shares part of her secret to having a thriving garden.
"I talk to my plants. I give them my blessings, and I tell them I love them. And they like it!" she said.
Tickets to the garden tour are $20 apiece and may be purchased at the following locations:
* Rain Forest Nursery on West Yosemite Avenue
* Tipton's Stationery & Gifts in downtown Manteca (corner Yosemite Avenue and Maple Street)
* New York Diamonds in the Walmart commercial center (South Main Street and Mission Avenue)
* German Glas Werks in downtown Manteca, (corner Yosemite and Main)
* Sadie's Salon, East Yosemite Avenue across from Manteca High
* Ed's Rockery on East Lathrop Road (on the east end of the Lathrop Road Highway 99 overcrossing)
* Silverado Nursery on Stockton Avenue in Ripon
* Park Greenhouse on West Ripon Road in Ripon
* Delicato Family Vineyards, Highway 99 Frontage Road (west side of the freeway)
* Manteca Senior Center, Cherry Lane just behind City Hall.
A brochure showing the garden locations will be available when you purchase a ticket.
Refreshments will be available at the last house featured in the tour where door prizes will be given away to lucky visitors.
For more information, visit the group's website at https://mantecagardenclub.org/ You may also contact them at P.O. Box 23, Manteca, CA 95336.