Carol and Bill Mince had remodeled their Menlo Park home. Now it was time to transform the front and back yard. “There was this big, ugly pine tree that shaded the front that we removed,” recalled Carol. “But we also had a beautiful old oak. We wanted something that worked with it and went with the style of the house.”
They enclosed the front yard with a wall and wrought iron gates and used a mix of native and adapted plants, working with landscape architect Stephanie Morrison, who specializes in sustainable, water-efficient gardens. In the five years since completing the transformation, they’ve added a selection of folk art, which dot both front and back.
You can view the results yourself on June 23 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm when the Mince yard is one of a half dozen featured on the 2012 Educational Garden Tour sponsored by the Master Gardeners of San Mateo and San Francisco Counties. The theme is “inspiration and advice for creating attractive, sustainable, water-wise gardens.” Tickets are $20; they’re available online or on the day of the tour. Check in a Redwood High School at 1968 Old County Road in Redwood City to receive maps to the gardens.
Tour leaders Julie Montanari and Terry Lyngso explained the a team of Master Gardeners look at all the gardens that have been suggested as fitting the year’s theme and chooses the best ones for the tour. “We’re already thinking about next year’s tour, which will have the same theme,” said Julie. “We’re happy to take suggestions from members of the public, gardeners, designers — anyone.”
Carol gave us a quick tour of her garden on a recent sunny morning. She said the most popular object is the rock dog that sits in the front yard. “We found it at Squaw Valley pet store. There’s a local artist there who finds all his rocks in the Yuba River and makes them into critters.”
The object with the best story just may be the wrought iron chair. Explained Carol. “It’s my father [former Menlo Park city attorney Jack Jorgenson]. “My mother had him lay down and traced him on paper. I guess my Dad is going to be with me forever.”
Photos by Irene Searles