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After viewing the six private gardens featured in Saturday's Manteca Garden Tour, a duly impressed Ed Larimer just had one thing to say.
"People are very creative," said the retired pharmacist who enjoyed the annual event with his wife, Peggy.
His comment was echoed by those who came out to leisurely meander through the green-thumb creations of half a dozen homeowners in the Family City.
"I enjoy coming out to see the different yards," said Betty McDonald who was impressed by the "variety of things" homeowners used to create their own personal paradise.
"Different people, different creativity," commented Lulu Harrison who attended the garden tour for the second year in a row with husband, Bill.
Culling ideas from the many ways the homeowners did to highlight their landscaping, and how they designed it to fit the space in their yards, are among the things Connie Warren enjoys about the annual garden tour, the only fund-raiser sponsored by the Manteca Garden Club during the year.
As she meandered through the gently undulating walkways that took visitors through Steve and Loretta Parsons' specific plant groupings — from the peaceful and soothing koi pond with its whispering waterfall, cut flowers, lilies, roses, and vegetables in a raised planter box — one significant gardening tool caught Warren's attention.
"It's nice when they have names for the plants," she said pointing to the professional-looking name tags that the Parsons placed to help identify the plants in their DellWebb garden they call "Parsons Park."
With the recent record California drought still fresh in everyone's mind, this year's garden tour included homes that offered plenty of drought-tolerant gardening ideas. A perfect example was the home of Kirk and Ann Kammeraad whose spacious front and back gardens showed how water-tolerant plants and rock-scapes can result in equally eye-catching, if not more attractive views than an expansive lush lawn. Another example of this water-wise gardening technique was displayed by Master Gardener Carol Bone who transformed her front lawn into a fenced-in courtyard highlighted by a variety of plants that don't require frequent watering.
The tour concluded in the home of Bruce and Deanna Cowan whose landscaping featured a one-of-a-kind garden attraction - a wooden deck and a koi pond running across the front side of the house sheltered by a nearly century-old massive tree that essentially cuts off the noise of traffic just a few feet away to create a quiet and peaceful private hideaway. The Cowans' spacious backyard gardens aptly served as the perfect setting for the refreshments and door-prize drawing that concluded the tour.