The local chapter of American Association of University Women's Annual Garden Tour has become a tradition among locals.

Each year the various gardens on tour delight guests as they meander from home to home, taking in the beautiful sights and fabulous fragrances and occasionally get intriguing ideas, perhaps, for their own backyards. Mark your calendars for May 9 or May 10 for the tour, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Member Tena Gallagher was happy to report that four of the five gardens on tour are located in Alamo, including the gardens of three AAUW members, Paula Weintraub, Luisa Hansen and Donna Brown. Tena and AAUW members encourage the community to attend to come on out and enjoy the fresh air and lovely landscapes.

"Begin your Mother's Day Weekend by treating your mother and daughters to this self-guided tour of five of the loveliest gardens in the Alamo and Danville area. From the calm serenity of an artist's studio garden to an exquisite entertainment garden featuring expansive lawns, terraced hillside and multiple patio areas, you will be inspired by the creative elegance of each of these unique gardens," Tena said via email.

The homeowners of the "Serenity Garden" planted two Oak trees 50 years ago, which greet guests as they arrive. Landscape designer Bill Williams has incorporated beautiful large stones into the landscaping. A wisteria-covered patio is a notable truck shape and being drought-mindful, the owners have added realistic artificial grass to add some green and save water at the same time. There is a quiet shaded garden, however the pool welcomes the sun and is nestled in the yard by citrus trees along the fence.


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The "Entertainment Garden" in Alamo boasts an expansive lawn, tennis and basketball court. Rock plantings, annuals and perennials color the landscape. A pool garden provides a place for family to gather. The "Artists Wonderland" is a place for the owner to display works of art created by this resident artist and include ceramic and metal pieces. Whimsical pieces decorate and "protect" the property. Alice in Wonderland flowers are scattered throughout, along with cast-iron Tree of Life and big Grecian urns. Don't miss the figurines in the garden and peeking out of the shrubbery.

A hillside above Danville offers lots of privacy and a calm and naturalistic setting, making this "retreat" seem far from it all. The owner is a sculptor, displaying her work throughout her garden, among potted plants. Her studio is in her garden area and there is a lovely view of Mount Diablo from the back yard. The pool area encompasses a dining area, perfect for enjoying meals al fresco and relaxing.

The "Fun Garden" displays "garden treasures" the owner finds, which includes flower pots on the porch and a collection of bird houses and an outdoor "breakfast nook" among other clay pots. An assortment of Asian artifacts surround a stone bench, offering the perfect place to sit and ponder.

Tickets for the tour are $30 each, $25 for seniors age 65 and until May 5 and then ticket prices go up an additional $5 apiece. Tickets can be bought at East Bay Flower Company, 206 Sycamore Valley Road West in Danville in the Livery, or online at http://daw-ca.aauw.net/garden. Or mail a check payable to AAUW Funds with a self-addressed stamped #10 envelope to: AAUW Garden Tour, P.O. Box 996, Alamo, CA 94507.

Light refreshments will be provided, and all proceeds benefit scholarships, research and grants for dedicated women scholars. Another gift idea for Mother's Day is the fun game, Mommy Tonic, created by two talented Alamo women, and is taking off by storm. Read more about the creators and how they came up with the idea in my next column. In the meantime, go to www.mommytonic.com to order Mom the game today. Wishing all moms a Happy Mother's Day!

Contact Caterina Mellinger at around- alamo@hotmail.com.