Gamble Garden Spring Tour 2019 invites visitors to “Enter the Garden”

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on April 19, 2019

That Joan Sanders is President of the Board of Directors of the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden in Palo Alto should surprise no one who knows her — particularly those who have admired the garden at her Atherton home. She fancies herself a kind of garden whisperer, or more accurately, a person who believes gardens should talk to each other.

We met Joan at Gamble Garden in advance of this year’s spring tour, scheduled for Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27. We were joined by Menlo Park resident Pat Gregory (pictured with Joan) who, along with Ann Kalar, is chairing this year’s tour, whose theme is “Enter The Garden.’

Joan and Pat have known each other for decades and have been active in the community on many fronts. Both say the satisfaction of volunteering is the ability to connect with people. “You connect through schools and sporting events,” says Joan. “But then your kids grow up and you need a new way of connecting.”

Pat got introduced to Gamble Garden years ago though friends who lived in Palo Alto. She’s particularly excited about the variety of gardens on this year’s tour. “Some are real retreats,” she says. “Others showcase the homeowner’s creativity.”

One example is Dean Bui’s garden (right), which we toured accompanied by Joan and Pat. Set amidst a 1904 historical house, Dean explained that he tackled it “one corner at a time.”

“It was done over a 14-year period,” he explains. “I’d met a Santa Cruz-based contractor at Roger Reynolds Nursery, and we used a lot of driftwood in the design. He taught me well. I did the front gate all by myself. Ironically, the toughest part about it was finding the wood!”

Growing up in Vietnam, Dean was surrounded by a beautiful garden his father cultivated. “I try to make some things similar to what we had in Vietnam,” he says “I have a lot of evergreen trees. I like to see the green during the winter.

“I like to create things, to make something that comes out of my imagination. It’s both satisfying and a way to relax.”

Dean, was discovered by Richard Hayden, the Garden Director at Gamble, who noticed the front gate walking by one day.

In addition to touring five private gardens, there will be a silent auction, vendor marketplace, and plant sale. Garden experts will be on hand to offer advice along with lunch, refreshments, and live music. All Gamble Garden activities and events are free. Tickets for the tour and lunch are available online.

Photos by Robb Most (c) 2019

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