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Modesto Garden Club Sets Annual Spring Benefit Tour
Whats behind the garden gate of this iconic Modesto home will be revealed on the Modesto Garden Clubs Spring Garden Tour, set for Saturday, April 16. Photo Contributed

The Modesto Garden Club’s Spring Garden Tour, which takes place Saturday, April 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., includes an iconic house and garden in the middle of a city street and several water wise gardens. All locations are within minutes of McHenry and Morris avenues in Modesto.

Tour chair Gerry Yockey said each location was selected for uniqueness, beauty and design. “Many of the homeowners admit they didn’t have a well thought out plan,” she said, “but simply began with an idea, such as low maintenance, water wise plants, an outdoor living space, or a few plants that they absolutely loved.” Yockey added, “The hope is that these gardens will inspire you, give you the courage to try something different in your own garden.”

Tickets, $20 general admission and $10 for children under 10 (no strollers), are available at local nurseries in Modesto, Riverbank, Escalon, Ripon, Turlock, and Newman as well other locations in Modesto now and on the day of the event. Visit for ticket locations or online purchases.

Tour proceeds fund six $1500 county-wide scholarships each year and plants and maintenance of the club’s civic beautification projects, including the downtown flower clock, 232 large pots downtown that are planted twice a year, the Virginia Corridor Memorial Rose Garden, the Senior Citizen Center on Bodem Street and 13 large trees planted in the new 10th Street Project. The Modesto Garden was founded in 1924.

Inspiration for the gardens on tour include existing trees, tall plants in the middle, an eastern forest, drought tolerant, simplicity, and easy maintenance

The most unique house on the tour is a 6000 square foot craftsman farm house built between 1907 and 1913 in an olive grove outside of the city. The olive grove was subdivided as the town grew, sending city streets around the house. The current owners have lived in the home 40 years and have made substantial changes over the years. The landscaping has been designed to honor redwoods, pine, cedar and citrus trees, some of which are 100 years old. While the front yard is small, the back yard holds surprises for the visit with game and conversational areas. Many of the plants have been offered by friends and then a place is found for the plant to thrive.

The tour will also feature a bungalow kit home purchased in 1922 from Sears & Roebuck and company for $1830. The model name “The Clyde” is on the brass plaque located on a brick pilaster in front of the home.

A number of the gardens showcase drought tolerant features. One includes over 200 plants in the front yard that provide a variety of color, texture, height and form. The homeowner will also share his experience in converting the yard to its drought tolerant status. Another garden has been a work in progress since 2012. The homeowner spent hours planning, and then executing a plan guided by design principles, simplicity, and ease of maintenance. The latest addition is an underground water system.

At one location attendees will discover a landscape inspired by the forests in the eastern United States. There is also a pond on site. In another garden the homeowner had no plan other than plant tall things in the middle. Then she started “planting and planting,” resulting in a colorful garden of roses, daisies and hundreds of annuals plus a small vegetable garden.

Also on tour is the Modesto Garden Club office at 622 14th St.

This remodeled bungalow is a downtown oasis, providing a number of demonstration gardens as well as a small meeting space.


The tour is self-guided. A map is supplied with ticket purchase.