Debbie Arrington

Seeds: Showing off in Sacramento-area garden tours

We all know how April showers bring May flowers (and hopefully, we’ll have a few of both). But April flowers have the power to bring out something else – crowds.

April’s busy calendar reminds me of an Easter basket, overflowing with treats that are hard to resist. It’s a sweet sampler of spring, reflecting the many different ways we garden in Sacramento.

Today is no exception. A line of patrons will be outside the Broadway gates this morning at Sacramento’s Historic City Cemetery. Hosted by the cemetery’s garden volunteers, the annual Open Garden welcomes visitors for free guided tours from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. Free parking is available north of the entrance at Broadway and 10th Street.

Lovers of rare roses always show up early for a chance to buy bushes grown from cuttings from the cemetery’s world-renowned collection of heritage roses. The most sought-after varieties trace back to the 1800s.

Perennials and California native plants also are featured in the cemetery’s gardens. At the Open Garden, check out the abundance of spring color amid the tombstones.

Next Saturday, patrons are welcome back to the cemetery for a unique twilight fundraiser – “Romance and Roses.” From 6:30 to 8 p.m., costumed docents will tell romantic tales about the roses, love found in the wagon trains and early pioneer days, and love lost. Suggested donation: $5. (Learn more at

Home & garden tours

Home and garden tours vie for attention this spring, with so many events the schedule extends well into May.

Today, see historic homes and buildings in Sutter Creek in the Sierra foothills during Jewels of the Mother Lode, the 42nd annual tour hosted by the Amador branch of the American Association of University Women. Five homes and an inn will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Refreshments include tea and cookies, but the tour also features an art show and wine-tasting. Tickets ($25) and maps are available at Sutter Creek Visitors Center, 71 Main St., Sutter Creek. For details, click on

Folsom Garden Club celebrates its 80th anniversary with its Gardens of Folsom tour, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26 and 27. Artists will be painting in six private gardens. Master gardeners will be on hand to answer questions. Take home some plants, too, from the club’s sale. Tickets ($15) are available online at

Seven homes representing the diverse architecture of a beloved Sacramento neighborhood will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26 for the 28th annual Curtis Park Home and Garden Tour. For this event – hosted by the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association – a lot is going on in Curtis Park itself: Live music, vintage car show, food trucks and antiques restoration experts. Plein air artists will be at work in the park and featured homes with their paintings later will be offered for sale. Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 tour day; available : Online at, at the Sierra 2 Center, 2791 24th St.; Collected Works, 4524 Freeport Blvd.; and Haus, 5601 H St.

Woodland Library Rose Club celebrates its silver anniversary with its 23rd annual garden tour from noon to 5 p.m. April 27. The tour visits six private gardens plus the library’s own large rose garden. Live music and tastings of local wines, coffee, olive oil and honey will offered in the garden settings. At the Gable Mansion, this tour goes inside for a fashion show of two dozen vintage wedding gowns. Tickets: $20 adults, $10 youth at

Four tours vie on the first weekend in May:

• The Assistance League of Sierra Foothills Gardens of the Hills Tour in El Dorado Hills, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 3-4, $25 adults, $10 children under 12,


• The 16th annual Land Park Garden Tour and Tea opens private gardens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 3 with an added attraction – a special noon tea service. Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 tour day; $45 including tea. Call

(916) 606-4195


• St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church of Chico hosts its 31st annual garden tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 3 with five unique gardens, luncheon and plant boutique. Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 tour day;


• Pence Art Gallery hosts its 23rd annual tour of Davis gardens from noon to 5 p.m. May 4 with six special gardens including the private garden of Warren Roberts, UC Davis Aboretum’s superintendent emeritus. Master gardeners and artists at work will be stationed throughout the tour. Tickets: $25 in advance, $28 tour day;


Flower shows galore

Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park serves as a hub of seasonal flower and plant shows. There’s a flower or plant show and sale almost every weekend now through June 7. All these events are free and open to the public: American Bonsai Society, today-Sunday; Sacramento Iris Society, April 19-20; Sacramento Rose Society, April 26; Sacramento Cactus and Succulents Society, May 3-4; Sacramento Geranium Society, May 10-11; Satsuki Aokakai (flowering bonsai) May 17-18; Sacramento Chrysanthemum Society, May 31-June 1; and Sacramento Fuchsia Society, June 7.

In the Bonsai Capital, spring shows make Sacramento the city of “little trees.” Besides the two events at the Shepard Center and the just-completed Sekiyu Kai show, the Sacramento Bonsai Club hosts its 68th annual show May 3-4 at the Sacramento Buddhist Church on Riverside Boulevard.

This season, there’s no shortage of garden inspiration. Enjoy exploring some possibilities.