Explore Exeter’s beautiful gardens

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By Amy C. Witt
@AmyCWitt_SGN
exeter – From beautiful succulents and yuccas to stunning pools and garden art, the four homes featured in this year’s Exeter Chamber of Commerce’s “Full Bloom 2017” 14th Annual Garden Walk are guaranteed to inspire and excite. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, visitors are invited to explore charming and unique private gardens in and around the Exeter area.
“As a homeowner, Master Gardener and citrus grower, I’m very concerned about water usage. In the deepest hottest days of summer, nothing is watered more than once a week, much less during milder growing seasons,” explained Barbara Johnson of her and her husband, Larry’s country home.
Originally designed as a southwestern/Mediterranean yard, it was transferred into a drought-tolerant alluring landscape. Since Barb was a young girl, she had a love and hobby for growing succulents. So naturally, she incorporated the water storage plants throughout. The Johnson’s purchased their home, surrounded by pomelos around Christmas of 1992. The yucca plant that adorns the front entrance of the home was planted a year later in ’93 and some of the wild flowers that beautify the home were also planted that same year. Colorful garden art and pots, California natives and various garden furniture give the yard an additional southwestern touch.
Surrounded by Santa Barbara-style mission walls, vibrant purple wisteria, relaxing water fountain and outdoor furniture, a peaceful getaway is created for Carol and Mark Richard. The back yard spa and pool along with the authentic pillars with Spanish-style tile roof frames allows for a tropical paradise. The garden was inspired by Mark and Carol’s marriage as they did not want to rent a venue to get married.So they decided to create their own vision in their beautiful yard in 2011.
“This has been a work in progress for 12 years, starting with a vision and turning it into a labor of love,” expresses the Richards.
Minty and Raj Dillon built their dream home together through years of hard work. Fourteen years ago, the couple custom built their elegant scenic home. But, most recently, they remodeled the home for two years, giving Minty the yard she always dreamed of.
“Growing up, I knew I wanted a yard full of flowers and greenery. I didn’t want flowers I could just enjoy outside but flowers I could take inside and create flower arrangements with,” said Minty.
The extravagant home features a view unlike any other. With its array of Buddha statues, putting course, infinity pool, rose garden, vegetable garden and seating areas, the Dillon home provides serenity and harmony. Minty loves colors and flowers and she wanted to incorporate an Asian flare into the garden, as husband, Raj grew up in Hong Kong. From the various colored roses and greenery, Minty has hand selected and placed every plant in her garden, most times with the help of her son. Textures and colors are not only appealing to the eyes, but to the senses, too.
Upon entering the double doors at Stan and Tamera Bennett’s home, you will be welcomed into a vintage garden paradise. An outdoor fireplace and flat screen TV, various luxury furniture, ferns, flowers and water falls, adorn the 1¼-acre home the couple purchased four years ago, built and landscaped by Steve Cox, owner of Plant Systems Inc. The backyard was designed for the Bennetts’ four grandsons with a focus on providing a safe and fun fenced yard.
“Our favorite thing to do is relax and watch our grandsons play in the pool as they run from the pool to the spa,” said Tamera.
The garden features bold foliage and colorful flowers and succulents that compliment the lagoon style pool. A 1949 Diamond T vintage truck, cast iron flower bed frame and hidden chicken coop create a charming country flare. A red kissing statue gifted by Stan as an anniversary present for Tamera dances in a bed of florals.
And, returning this year is Tulare/Kings Master Gardeners presenting “Home Gardening Festival,” who will be on site at one of the lovely garden sites.
Admission is included with Garden Walk ticket and visitors can learn what to plant, how to grow, conserve and use water wisely, landscape “Central Valley Style” and even, pest management in a home garden.
Tickets for the event are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the event and are available in Exeter at the Exeter Chamber of Commerce and By the Water Tower Antiques. Tickets will be available the day of the event, only at By the Water Tower Antiques, 141 South B Street. This wonderful quality of life event is sponsored by Garrett German, 20/20 Financial Advisers of Exeter.
For details regarding the homes or homeowners, you may contact the Exeter Chamber office at 101 W. Pine Street Exeter or 559-592-2919 or by email: Chamber@ExeterChamber.com. Visit www.ExeterChamber.com for more info.