By Carole Grosch | Reporter
There’s something intriguing about a rain-kissed garden, exciting the senses with its fresh smell and stunning colors.
Guests who attended the Clovis Botanical Garden’s (CBG) seventh annual “Spring into Your Garden Festival” March 24 and 25, experienced a reminder of earlier rain showers as the festivities got underway.
The two-day event began with the Special VIP Preview Friday evening. With a $5 donation for Garden members and $10 donation for non-members, guests enjoyed appetizers and libations in a beautiful setting, met Saturday’s featured speakers and gained early access to the Garden Gift Shoppe and Spring Plant Sale.
Saturday, the garden opened at 9 a.m. Shoppers browsed the gift shop, which highlighted many one-of-a-kind items. The plant sale, featuring water-wise plants, did a lively business.
“I always like coming here to plant shop because I get helpful tips from the experts for the plants I buy,” said one happy home gardener. “They’ll even hold them for me while I get something to eat and then volunteers carry my purchases out to the car. You don’t get that type of service at the big box stores.”
In the pavilion, guest speakers gave informative talks on topics of local interest. Featured speaker and botanist Tom Ogren advised gardeners on allergy fighting gardens; Fresno Bee columnist Elinor Teague spoke about healthy soil; California native plant expert Thelma Valdez introduced California’s indigenous plants and arborist Susan Stiltz gave a walking tour of the garden and discussed the garden’s trees.
On Saturday, admission charge was a $5 donation for non-CBG members; CBG members and children were free.
Guests could purchase breakfast, lunch and beverages, courtesy of Carniceria Colima. There were plenty of picnic tables available to enjoy al fresco dining.
Many exhibitors and vendors were on hand: The California Native Plant Society, Sequoia Chapter, The City of Clovis Public Utilities, City of Fresno Water Conservation, Fresno Cactus and Succulent Society, Mary D’s Cactus and Succulents, Clark Bonsai Collection, Tree Fresno, Sierra Foothill Conservancy and Larry Homan’s Succulents.
Gallery II with Janice Stevens and Pat Hunter had a presence with books and artwork. Janet Ontko featured her popular clay forms.
UCCE Master Gardeners of Fresno County gave gardening advice and answered questions. From now through October, on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, they will be at CBG to answer gardening questions. Look for them from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. under the green canopy near the flagpole.
Clovis Botanical Garden was the inspiration of Gordon Russell. In 1993, Russell, who was a resident of Clovis, wished to create a demonstration botanical garden in the San Joaquin Valley. He wanted an emphasis on education and water conservation while showcasing native plants for residents to enjoy.
He presented this idea to the Clovis City Council. By 1995, non-profit status was granted to the Clovis Botanical Committee, Inc. The current site is on three acres of land owned by the City of Clovis. Located at 945 N. Clovis Avenue, between Alluvial and Nees, the area is bordered by a bike trail and Dry Creek Park.
Today, the garden continues to evolve and grow.
The new Home Landscape Demonstration area gives a preview of four distinct exhibits of home landscaping ideas and the Kid’s Zone provides hands-on activities for kids.
“This is the Science Table,” said CBG member Allyson Smith. “We’re using household tools imitating bird beaks to demonstrate how birds get their food.”
The Sensory Garden is now home to an impressive basalt column fountain and plants chosen for their texture, color and fragrance. A bench is planned for guests to sit and enjoy all the garden offers. Seat wall custom tiles will celebrate donors of $500 or more.
The next event for the garden is the Earth Day Tour, “CBG’s Sustainable Landscaping Methods” on Saturday, April 22 at 10 a.m. To reserve a spot (tours are limited to 20 people), contact Anne at 559-493-8052.
The Clovis Botanical Garden is open Wednesday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
The 1,500 square feet pavilion is available to public rental. It will accommodate up to 90 people and has electricity, water and restroom facilities available. For more information, contact Facility Manager Sharon Jackson at 559-269-1936.
Anyone interested in volunteering at the CBG or becoming a member can contact Marge at 559-323-5874 or visit clovisbotanicalgarden.org.