By Eric Heinz
There’s a lot of life in this year’s San Clemente Garden Tour.
Some gardens feature waterfalls, others have turtles and tortoises roaming about, and a four-acre property—yes, in San Clemente—are all part of the series of horticultural mastery.
On Saturday, May 19, the San Clemente Garden Club’s annual tour will showcase five specially selected coastal gardens. People can guide themselves to the various home garden tour locations.
The tour will include complimentary food tastings prepared by local restaurants and caterers. The gardens will be marked with “flutter flags” and signage to guide patrons. Musical entertainment will be provided at one garden this year too.
If you go:
The San Clemente Garden Tour takes place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, May 19.
Advance tickets are available through May 18 for $30 each or four for $100. Tour tickets with garden directions will be mailed. To order tickets, visit www.sanclementegardenclub.com to pay online with PayPal.
Will call tickets will be at the Via Blanco location.
Tickets purchased on May 19 at any of the gardens cost $40 each. Proceeds from the annual fundraiser will support the San Clemente Garden Club Scholarship Fund, civic beautification, school gardens and numerous conservation organizations.
The annual garden tour supports civic beautification, scholarships, school garden grants and more.
The tour will take place rain or shine; no refunds. Gardens are not wheelchair-accessible or suitable for small children. Wear comfortable shoes.
The following descriptions of the gardens were compiled by Freda D’Souza, the volunteer publicist of the San Clemente Garden Club.
Calle Bienvenido in north San Clemente, Harbor Estates area
The homeowners restored a childhood home, creating extraordinary gardens with more than 80 varieties of coastal native plants and a few non-native plants and shrubs to showcase the benefits of ecology, attracting monarch butterflies and hummingbirds. The property has been updated with sustainable wood decking, three dry water wells, a planted slope, and an arbor and perimeter garden. Café Rae will serve its signature Mediterranean salad on the deck, next to the newly created pond.
Calle Fino Clarete in Forster Ranch, El Encanto area
The front area of this garden features native and drought-tolerant plantings, enormous fishtail palms, monkey flowers and spider flowers popular with butterflies and hummingbirds.
The backyard has a tropical feel with an expansive fountain, pool, fireplace and seating area, as well as stunning metal art. The gardens also feature windmill palms in which two orioles are currently nesting, a dry creek for water harvesting and a rain barrel to hand-water plantings. The Cellar in San Clemente will host tastings at the backyard barbecue station at this property.
Via Blanco, Forster Ranch, Tocayo Hills
This garden spans an incredible four-acre site. Right upon entering the property are a plethora of white roses, three large strawberry trees, Jerusalem sage, olive trees and a beautiful urn. The driveway is lined with native plantings leading to a covered patio where Sprouts Farmers Market will provide a smorgasbord of tastings during the 2018 garden tour.
Toward the rear, the homeowners often dine and entertain outdoors with a large pergola and additional seating area around a sunken stone fire pit with wine barrel Adirondack-style chairs. This estate features an extensive vineyard, olive trees, wild artichoke bushes, a chicken coop and a gazebo at the highest point of the property.
On Calle Akelia, Talega, Sabella development
Eight years ago, this property had next-to-no landscaping. The homeowners transformed the front garden into terraced beds with stone and agave, and with more than 50 varieties of drought-tolerant succulent plantings. The front-facing side yard also features native plantings and a guava tree. Beyond the gate is an impressionist collage of colorful beauty. These gardens are an oasis for people, butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and several turtles and Russian tortoises. The property boasts more than 25 fruit trees, various native and non-native plantings, five avocado trees, raised planter boxes with cabbage, rhubarb, dill, tomatoes and other herbs and vegetables, hanging strawberry planters, a fire pit, fountain, patio seating area and other seating areas to enjoy the flora, fauna and wildlife, artichoke bushes and a cage with iguanas. Always Inn San Clemente and Always Spice Catering will serve a variety of Mediterranean-themed savory tastings with decadent brownies prepared by Sugar Blossom Bake Shoppe.
Avenida Arlena, southeast San Clemente, Presidio area
The front garden features plants that can handle full sun and minimal watering. The side garden features a retaining “Happy Wall” planted with more than 25 different varieties of succulents, a large water fountain, pigmy palms with hummingbird nests and other trees, a seating area with potted succulents and citrus trees, and a tropical zen sanctuary. The rear garden features a koi pond, waterfall, bar area, perimeter plantings with a wide variety of plants, and seating areas to enjoy the coastal views. The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar will serve tastings on the patio in the rear garden during the tour.