Home & Garden

In a Folsom garden, chickens rule the roost in style

Lynda Trujillo and Christopher Schaal of Folsom built the chicken coup using inspiration from Pinterest.
Lynda Trujillo and Christopher Schaal of Folsom built the chicken coup using inspiration from Pinterest. lsterling@sacbee.com

Every morning, Lynda Trujillo greets her “girls.” They reward her with friendly clucks – and lots of eggs.

The eggs come compliments of Trujillo’s six busy hens, who rule the roost in luxury. This weekend, they’ll have plenty of visitors during the 16th annual Gardens of Folsom Tour.

Hosted by the Folsom Garden Club, the tour features six unique gardens including Trujillo’s slice of chicken heaven. Master gardeners will be stationed at each venue to answer questions and offer tips. Artists will paint the scenery as patrons watch. (Bring some extra cash; this tour also includes a plant and bake sale.)

More than 800 patrons took the tour last year with proceeds supporting college scholarships for local students.

“I like sharing, so this is fun,” Trujillo said of the tour.

Nestled into a hillside overlooking the American River, Trujillo’s garden offers breathtaking views of the canyon as well as a first-class coop. A professional artist, Trujillo finds plenty of inspiration in the natural world just outside her windows.

Wrapping around the ranch-style home, a mosaic-lined path winds through big trees and past secret fairy gardens and whimsical sculpture.

“I wanted a fun walk around the redwoods,” Trujillo explained. “So we made one.”

Trujillo and her husband, Christopher Schaal, bought their Folsom home three years ago and immediately went to work on the landscaping.

“It was so thick, I didn’t even know we had Japanese maples until we found them under the ivy,” Trujillo said. “It was very fun (cutting away the vines). It felt like I was finding my own secret garden.”

As they pulled out more ivy, they also discovered roses and other shrubs that had somehow survived in the overgrowth. Those plants now thrive in their revived garden space.

Facing their front door was a long row of gigantic oleanders, she noted. “My husband hooked up his truck to one and yanked it out,” she said. “That’s when I saw we had all this nice flat space. I told him, ‘Keep yanking!’”

After removing a dozen oleanders, the couple had room for a vegetable garden and what Trujillo really wanted – chickens.

Together, they built a custom coop from scratch, inspired by a design she saw on Pinterest.

“I was able to get some blueprints but no directions,” Trujillo said. “My husband figured it out. He’s an emergency room nurse and super handy. He can build anything.”

Now, the “girls” likely have the fanciest coop in Folsom. A climbing pink and white Eden rose frames its gate. Finished on Valentine’s Day two years ago, the coop is decorated with vintage hearts, a recycled crystal chandelier and a Victorian-era rooster illustration. A metal rooster stands guard outside its door.

“That’s their ‘man,’ ” Trujillo joked of the rooster sculpture as the hens gathered round.

With beautiful plumage, the hens are as fancy as their digs. Their varieties include Araucana, Australorp, Plymouth Rock, Olive Egger and Lavender Orpington.

Of course, they have names and personalities to match.

“That’s Delilah; she loves lettuce,” said Trujillo, who raised them from chicks. “Petunia is really bossy. Penny – the black one – is short for ‘Penguin’ because that’s what she looked like as a baby. Daisy Mae is very pretty and Minnie Pearl just fit that name. Maude is pretty, too.”

Protected by a 7-foot fence, the hens have the run of a raised-bed vegetable garden planted around their coop. They quickly take care of any bugs while fertilizing the veggies, too.

“We get three to six eggs a day,” Trujillo said as she pulled pastel-colored eggs from the nesting boxes. “We can tell who laid what by the color.”

Her egg basket illustrates her point. The shells gleamed in shades of pale green, blue, pink, peach and tan as well as pearly white.

“It’s a nice variety,” Trujillo said. “And they sure are fresh.”

In the vegetable beds grow artichokes, fava beans, peas, chard, beets, broccoli, onions, arugula, carrots, kale, cabbage, lettuce, radishes, celery and more. Soon there’ll be tomatoes, peppers and squash.

Except for a few pecks of lettuce, the hens live in harmony with their garden.

“This is my happy spot,” Trujillo said. “How can you not feel good in a place like this?”

Debbie Arrington: 916-321-1075, @debarrington

16th annual Gardens of Folsom Tour

Where: Start at first garden, 112 Vierra Circle, Folsom

When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 30, and Sunday, May 1

Admission: $15

Details: 916-221-2457, folsomgarden.org

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