Debbie Arrington

Seeds: Art and gardens in bloom for tours in region

So many garden events, so little time. Squeezed into a window of (usually) perfect spring weather, several local clubs vie for our attention in early May.

If you’re looking for something to celebrate spring or Mother’s Day (which falls next Sunday), there is no shortage of ideas or inspiration.

These gardens get artists in the mood, too. Two tours this weekend showcase painters at work.

• Today from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., more than a dozen artists will paint flowers and landscapes during the 22nd annual American Association of University Women Garden Tour in Yuba City. Tickets ($15) are available in the morning at the corner of Plumas and C streets in Yuba City. In the afternoon, a reception and ticket sales will be held at The Crave, 454 Bridge St., Yuba City.

• Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., more artists will be capturing garden moments during the 23rd annual Pence Gallery Garden Tour in north Davis. This year’s highlight is the private garden of Warren Roberts, superintendent emeritus of the UC Davis Arboretum. Besides the artists, master gardeners will be on hand to answer garden-related questions. Tickets ($28) are available at Pence Gallery, 212 D St., Davis.

• Farther north, St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church of Chico will host its 31st annual garden tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. Tickets ($30) include five gardens, lunch and a plant boutique. For ticket information and directions, click on


• Looking for a Mother’s Day gift? Or new hobby? Or need to get out of the sun for a little while? The Capital Woodcarvers host their annual show and sale this weekend at Scottish Rite Center at 6151 H St., Sacramento. Besides seeing lots of demonstrations and competitions, wannabe carvers and little whittlers can sharpen their skills at free classes. Considered the largest wood-carving show in California, the event ($5) is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

• Back outdoors, the East Sacramento Garden Tour has become a Mother’s Day weekend tradition. Last year, almost 2,000 patrons toured local gardens in support of David Lubin School. This year’s tour – set for May 10-11 – features seven gardens that became works of art. Student artwork will be featured at some of the stops. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 next weekend. Click on

for details.

Magic word: Beer

If you’re rummaging through an attic or garage sale, pay attention to vintage advertising stuff from Sacramento’s early years. One category really stands out for collectors: anything connected to beer.

In the late 1800s, Sacramento was home to about 16 breweries. That includes Buffalo Brewing Co. – at one time the largest brewery west of the Mississippi – which made its lager at the corner of Q and 21st streets, where The Sacramento Bee now stands.

Another brewery at P and Ninth streets is all but forgotten. German immigrant F.C. Knauer’s Pacific Brewery didn’t do a lot of advertising. In fact, a give-away poster promoting Pacific in 1899 is believed to be “the only existing example of advertising art from this Sacramento brewery,” said dealer Brian Witherell.

That made this poster – featuring three pretty lasses in Victorian-style bathing attire on a Northern California beach – a real find. It will be part of the upcoming Grass Valley Old West Antiques Show at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Accompanied by an online auction, the show runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Saturday.

Today, you can get a sneak peek at show and auction highlights (including the brewery poster) at Witherell’s Sacramento gallery, located at 300 20th St. The preview will be open from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Pacific Brewery poster came from the estate of a local collector who specialized in bottles and antique glass, said Witherell, known to millions from his regular appearances on PBS’ “Antiques Road Show.”

“Interestingly, early Sacramento and San Francisco brewers produced some of the most collectible advertising art we handle at auction,” he noted. “This particular design ... has all the characteristics that demanding collectors desire – fabulous quality, vibrant color and appealing design.”

And most of all, it has a reference to beer, he added. “This commodity is very strong. There’s a number of collectors very attracted to it.”

Without the words, the image is pretty but unremarkable, Witherell observed. He would evaluate it at about $150.

“But it says ‘Sacramento’ and ‘brewery,’ ” he said. “That takes it from $150 to (up to) $10,000 – maybe more.”

Learn more about Witherell and his hunt for Early California treasures in next week’s Home & Garden section.