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Want to share how your garden grows?
This gathering place under the stars around an outdoor fire pit is one of the garden highlights in the back yard of retired podiatrist William Egelston. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

The Manteca Garden Club is looking for gardeners who will help in the organization’s annual fund-raising.

That major project is the long-running garden tour which is traditionally held in late spring around Mother’s Day.

“We are looking for homeowners who are willing to share their back yards with the garden-loving public,” said club secretary Paula Elias.

“We look for gardens that tell a special story for the homeowner. These yards could include: beautiful flower beds such as a rose garden, unique water system such as a pool and waterfall, unusual plants such as drought-tolerant or native plants, beautiful patios, vegetable gardens, a tree grove or a back-yard orchard,” she said.

Previous garden tours have showcased the gamut – from small-yard Edens to large-acreage private hideaways that are either designed and created from scratch by the homeowners themselves or by hired professional landscapers.

Both homeowners and visitors mutually benefit from the garden tour. In most cases, the homeowners are there on the day of the tour to answer any gardening questions from the visitors. On the other hand, visitors can learn a lot from the featured gardens such as borrowing some ideas from the various landscapes, how and where to get certain plant varieties that they have long been looking for, and even gain some tips on how to grow plant species that are found in the showcased gardens.

“We have had many previous homeowners share they had a grand time meeting the public, sharing their back-yard gardens and helping to raise money for Manteca Garden Club,” Elias said.

Club members all work hard to make this project as successful as possible because this is their only major fund-raiser during the year. The entire membership is mobilized on the day of the tour to make this happen – from manning the garden tour sites to answering the public’s questions and helping with the opportunity drawing held at the last featured garden where refreshments are also served.

Money generated by the garden tour goes to the many community projects that the club supports year-round. These include the awarding of scholarships to two local high school students, donating trees to the city on Arbor Day, planting memorial trees in honor of deceased club members, and maintaining the Memorial Rose Garden in front of the Manteca Senior Center, among many others. The roses were planted by the club members who also rotate pruning, deadheading and cleaning the garden. They also donated the tree planted in the center of the rose garden. Most recently, the club helped the city fund the plantings for the newly expanded and improved Library Park.

All these are in keeping with the overall mission of the garden club which includes stimulating knowledge of horticulture, protecting and preserving native trees and shrubs, promoting interest in gardening, and encouraging civic beautification of the city.

Having a lineup of gardens months before the actual day of the tour will give club members adequate time to start planning and organizing the big event.

The 2012 Manteca Garden Tour will be held on Saturday, May 12.

“Keep our tour in mind when planning your Mother’s Day!” said Elias.

Tickets are $15 each and will be on sale prior to the tour at various businesses in town. Garden club members also will have them available for sale.

“The tour will also offer raffles for beautiful plants and baskets donated by the club members and many local businesses, displays of wonderful art work (by local artists belonging to the Manteca Artist Guild), and light refreshments,” Elias said.

If you want to nominate your garden, or if you know of someone whose garden should be highlighted at the 2012 garden tour, contact Rita Canales, garden club president, at (209) 823-8270 or send an e-mail to

Established in the 1950s, the Manteca Garden Club is one of the longest-running civic groups in Manteca. You can find out more about the organization and how to become a member by visiting their web site at