A fabulous stroll

The garden gates at Duchess Pinky's former home, featured on the 2019 East Sacramento Garden Tour (Photo by Michelle Drewes, courtesy of East Sac Garden Tour)

A parade of moms, often with their children tagging along, will make its way through Sacramento’s Fabulous Forties neighborhood this coming weekend. It’s their treat.

They’ll stop at seven spectacular gardens, getting a peek behind the gates of stately private homes. They’ll shop for sweets and only-in-Sacramento keepsakes at David Lubin School, then relax with iced tea, lemonade or wine at the century-old Sutter Lawn Tennis Club.

“It’s a perfect family outing for Mother’s Day weekend,” said volunteer Mary Odbert, one of the tour’s organizers.

Now in its 21st year, the East Sacramento Garden Tour has become a Mother’s Day tradition, a family-friendly walkabout for a cause. Proceeds support arts, music and after-school programs at Lubin School on M Street.

Last year, more than 3,000 patrons took part in the tour, drawn in part by the “Lady Bird” house, the big blue mansion seen in Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-nominated movie.

This weekend, the gardens will be just as gorgeous, if not as famous. Instead of “Lady Bird,” this tour features “Duchess Pinky.”

According to “intriguing neighborhood lore,” the duchess (who may or may not have had royal bloodlines) often sat on her front lawn, playing the harp and drinking champagne, Odbert said. Pinky no longer lives in the ivy-covered house, but this is a rare chance to see behind the home’s brick pillars and curved wrought-iron gates into Pinky’s fanciful English cottage garden.

Another featured stop is more modern and pragmatic: What do you do with a swimming pool in the wrong place? Move it.

“The back of this lovely East Sac home was extended further into the original backyard with a remodel,” Odbert explained. “The new house footprint meant that the original pool was in an inconvenient spot.”

So the homeowners hired Michael Glassman and Associates to redesign the yard. “He and his team created a lovely hardscape that maximizes the space and completely moved the pool to the left side of the yard, which made room for dining and living areas,” Odbert said.

For the tour, Sacramento designer Kerrie Kelly will embellish these outdoor patio rooms, Odbert added.

Besides the gardens, the tour offers other attractions such as refreshments at Sutter Lawn, Sacramento’s oldest private neighborhood club, and a boutique with about 40 local vendors offering Mother’s Day gifts. Parked in front of the homes will be vintage cars borrowed from the California Automobile Museum.

During the tour, Lubin School will open its kindergarten’s Alphabet Garden (as in “A” is for artichoke) and its Peace Garden, a shady refuge.

Throughout the tour, every garden can offer inspiration.

“I like the opportunity to see all the gardens and get ideas for my own,” Odbert said. “It’s just a wonderful way to spend the day.”

21st annual East Sacramento Garden Tour

Start: David Lubin School, 3535 M St., Sacramento

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 12

Admission: $20 advance; $25 day of tour; children 12 and younger free

Details and tickets: www.eastsacgardentour.com

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