Annual Gate and Garden Tour Explores North Laguna

Veteran Laguna artist Pat Sparkuhl’s whimsical sculpture garden features a Bowling Ball tree, among other rare specimens.

Copious rain that precipitated tragedy in December yields a floral bounty in spring, vividly on display next Friday, May 6, when 10 private North Laguna gardens welcome the Laguna Beach Garden Club’s Gate & Garden Walking Tour.

Visitors will explore whimsical brick paths, austere modern landscapes and a statue garden along a marked route on residential streets in one of the earliest areas settled in Laguna. Garden club volunteers will be available to answer questions.

The neighborhood, originally subdivided in 1906 and known as Laguna Cliffs, was the first to have water pumped directly to each lot. The majority of the original cottages in the area are from the 1920s. Those who worked here – bankers and tradesmen — who helped sustain the town for those who camped and summered here and drove economic development in the ‘20s, mostly owned homes on the “tree” streets.

Today, the owners are a more varied lot. Some have remodeled and re-landscaped neglected property. Many, moving from larger homes, exploit every inch outdoors to extend their living areas. Visitors will inhale perfume from exotic, tropical plants and appreciate water-sipping succulents.

Watch your step by Aloe ferox, the meanest member of the aloe family.

The less-than-a-mile route is without sidewalks and works its way up and down the side of a hill. As well, gardens may have uneven steps and paths. So organizers urge garden-lovers to wear walking shoes and hats, especially those adorned with flowers. Catch the bus in front of the final garden to return to Madison Square and Garden Café for refreshments and raffle.

Hidden gates promise surprises along the Gate & Garden Walking Tour.

Tickets are available by advance sales only. $35 ticket price includes admittance to the featured gardens, a tour brochure with a map of the route and additional information about the area, round trip bus transportation to the first garden of the tour and refreshments.

Purchase raffle tickets for a chance at a spectacular prize provided by Dana Point Nursery.

Tour proceeds provide financial support for club projects and scholarships for students with an interest in horticulture.

Tickets are available at Laguna Drug, 239 Broadway; Laguna Nursery, 1370 S.  Coast Highway; or Dana Point Nursery, 34100 S. Coast Highway, Dana Point; or by mail, P.O.Box 362, Laguna Beach, CA 92652; or online:

Volunteer coordinator Jeanne Yale admires colorful succulents.













Symmetry that fools the eye nonetheless swings open for tour visitors.













Pleasant surprises lie low in these gardens.










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