Friday, May 7, 2010

Laguna Beach Garden Tour

The one club in Laguna that I wish I could participate in is the Garden Club. The problem is that they meet at an inconvenient time for me. Until the baskets got going, I used to spend hours in the garden each week; I'm guessing more than 40 hours a week. Of course, I felt a little like Sisyphus; I had to keep up on things or else the garden would slide. For about 38 years, we have done all of our gardening ourselves, except the trees, and since the basket launch party I've had Adan and his team helping me, based on their referral from my friend Nick.

There is also a historical connection with our house and the Garden Club; Heil Rider, who built our house in 1923-24 along with his wife Edna Lee, was a founding officer of the Club, and he was very serious about gardening. He had more than 20 lots to look after, including a few ocean front lots. Of course he had a full time gardener, who lived in the quarters my Dad now uses for his office. The Riders were good friends with people like Kate Sessions, who was responsible for starting Balboa Park in San Diego with the offer to plant 100 trees. Ms. Sessions is also responsible for bringing the Jacaranda Tree to California, as well as popularizing the Bird of Paradise, Queen Palm and Pointsettia, all now very well-known in California.

The annual Garden Tour is held on a Friday; it used to be a drive around town deal, but now, thankfully, it's a walking tour in a neighborhood. This year it was on Diamond Street. There was a wide range of houses; some were very grand, like Lecia's Villa Diamante; the tiles on the pool house are from Italy, antique; shaped over the thigh:

The entrance has a series of lovely arches, with a landscape of ferns:
The house is soaring from below; lots of stonework and arches, here with a little of the lavender showing:
I loved the acanthus, here with some pretty roses; the house and the garden were done in the last three years; we used to have a lot of acanthus around our driveway, but someone seems to have ripped it out; time for more?
Here is the lavender Mom loved it! She is there in her pink cowboy hat (she IS from Alberta) and said "more lavender at the house!"
There were some cozy little areas, like the chaises at the pool:
There were dueling staircases up either side to the house, from the garden and pool:
The next few houses were very different; this one very Hawaiian and tropical:
Love the bamboo:
This is their "potting shed" ...the little green sign over the door tells you so.....tropical, functional, perfect....
Water features were all around; here is the pool and poolhouse at Villa Diamante:

At the first house on the tour, formerly owned by the author of "The Cay", the pool and jacuzzi both had triplicate water features:
One of my favorite photos of the tour is this fountain: a shell for spigot, falling into a barnacle was soft and organic and perfect:
This was a great one too; so Laguna; a bubbler fountain filled with growing moss....
The other theme I picked up on was the veggies; this gardener has cabbage; she says she only uses organic amendment, and her Jack Russell helps her turn the soil :) this is one of a row of them, and each was bigger than the last.
This was the rest of her walk, all in front of the house, English and lovely:
She had a pretty shell wreath on her door, Mom loved it;
But my favorite house on the tour was the one where we vendors were set up. Dean is the owner; the house is so quintessential Laguna, wood shake and unassuming from the street, but also with a history: Bette Davis owned the house in the late 40's and early 50's; Bette bought it for her mother but it eventually came into the hands of her husband. Look at the door; it's fascinating; weathered and comfortable like an old shoe; the perfect beach cottage! One of the things I liked about Dean's house is that the woodwork was left to age and not be "high maintenance." Our house is like the Golden Gate Bridge; we paint everything from one end to the other, then we have to start again; isn't it funny that we often like the polar opposite of where we ourselves live? There is some great stained glass in the sitting room near the door that I didn't photograph but I loved;
A shot from the back of the house; Dean says it looks larger than it is, but I didn't ask for a tour:
Versus the other houses on the tour, he had "my kind of stuff", like a Thai parasol in a corner of the garden; it is red though the glare of the full sun is on it here:
And a candelabra dripping with wax; this is a place that has seen a LOT of parties and dinners!
There is a little "playhouse: in the back, that is now for storage I think; still, Dean has it done up in lattice; and it's so relaxed and unfussy...
He has a little veggie garden; everything is happy here!
And a little quartet of bird houses, nestled in the wall; I loved the composition, especially with the jasmine:
There was also a nice stand of amaryllis below the birdhouses:
I was looking for inspiration today, and I found some; I might do shutters over the French doors on the potting shed I am planning; every time I wanted good shot it seems Mom jumped in, but she was excited about the tour so I guess that's ok....!
This door is very similar to the pair I want for my new shed off the patio, for immediate tools and BBQ supplies; moulding on my doors will go out, but the doors are narrower and I will have them sleek glossy black with red tile roof: still, it was great to show this to Mom, she immediately understood the appeal for our house:
My best inspiration of the day was Dean's potting shed Plus; look at these salvaged cupboards:
He has the little red and white check thing going; so composed; he says they use it a lot for the bar area for parties:
The materials are all reclaimed, including the counter top and shutters below; and he even threw in a little ironstone~
On the other wall, he has some of his shovels, all beneath the lattice ceiling; this gave me hope that I could do this without spending a fortune:
So those are the highlights of the tour! I had a great sales day, and was very happy to participate. On the way back to packup, I drove past a woman with about 10 baskets; some she bought, the last 3 she won in the raffle; she was THRILLED! I pulled over to chat with her and her husband; hope everyone will come see us at Corona del Mar!!!

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