“You don’t have a garden just for yourself, you have it to share.”
— Augusta Carter
La Jolla’s perennial event, the La Jolla Historical Society’s Secret Garden Tour of Old La Jolla, took place Saturday, May 9, for its 11th consecutive year. While May gray skies dominated most of the day, the lovely gardens shined brighter than the sun.
Looking back on the day, I fondly remembered the outdoor living spaces each owner had created. As you walked through the gardens, the outdoor rooms invited you to linger and relax on their comfortable patios or dine surrounded by nature.
A lovely historic Spanish Colonial home boasted a sunny courtyard with an outdoor fireplace that was artfully draped with a red climbing rose. An assortment of pots planted with succulents provided texture and enhanced the home’s architectural style. New landscaping blended in seamlessly with the old-growth trees that still grace the property.
Another garden transported you to Italy. Seventy-five-year-old olive trees were brought in from Temecula to give the garden an aged patina. I also enjoyed the grapevines that were trained to wrap around the outside eaves of the house.
Two hillside gardens had something new to discover around each bend.
In one garden, the canyon rim opened to views of the ocean and meandering pathways took you down into a sun-drenched canyon that was planted with an abundance of fruit trees and herbs.
In the other garden, paths wound in a serpentine way up a shady hillside labyrinth of verdant green that is planted with perfectly laced mature trees. Tree branches frame views of the ocean and North Shore from secret garden areas of the garden.
Several child-friendly gardens featured “made for fun” elements, such as a sunken trampoline, a sandbox, whimsical murals, lawns for badminton, fairytale statuary and a fairy garden that captured the imagination of every age.
Last but not least, we had the opportunity to visit a La Jolla treasure, the historic Darlington House.
Built in the 1920s and designed by architect Herbert Palmer, the stately home also features additions by architects Richard Requa and Thomas Shepherd. Adorning the gardens, a colorful rose garden, courtyards, fountains, pergolas, grillwork, tiles, urns and other outdoor architectural embellishments all embrace the classic Mediterranean style of the home.
Adding to the day, artists painted in the gardens while musicians serenaded us with myriad different instruments. Designers set beautiful table setting that added to the outdoor living environments.
All proceeds from the tour benefit the La Jolla Historical Society and help in many of the society’s worthwhile projects.
If you would like to join the garden tour committee for the 2010 tour or have a garden to suggest, please call the La Jolla Historical Society, (858) 459-5335.
— A local Realtor with Coldwell Banker who specializes in historic and architecturally designed homes, Linda is a co-founder of the Secret Garden Tour and her historic Barber Tract garden was featured on the 2001 tour. Take a tour of Linda’s garden on www.Linda