Whenever I go on the annual Laguna Beach Gate & Garden Tour, I hunt succulents. Most varieties thrive in Laguna's mild coastal climate. But what gets me every time are the flowering annuals and perennials that mix beautifully with them.
Many of these appealing combos are impractical where I live, a mere 15 miles inland. Am I envious? Uh...yeah. I suspect you may be, too, when you browse the eye-candy below.
The tour, a charity fundraiser, is hosted by the Laguna Beach Garden Club. Founded in 1928, it's one of California's oldest and largest, with 150+ members. The spring event is a must not only for locals, but anyone within driving distance who loves beautiful gardens and homes with charm and character.
This house for example, dating to 1929, belonged to movie star Bette Davis. Next to it is a sunny, mostly-succulent garden maintained by volunteers. Steps and pathways lead down to Woods Cove, a secluded beach popular with locals.
Laguna does have its challenges. Because the ocean defines this quaint community between Los Angeles and San Diego, traffic in summer can be teeth-gnashing. Homes facing the Pacific cling to rugged cliffs where views are stunning and parking difficult.
I managed to shoe-horn my car into a spot above these steps. I mention this not only to boast of my spryness (the tour shuttle was at the bottom) but also to show another appealing aspect of Laguna: its public art.
Minimal rainfall is another problem, so the Laguna Beach Water District and the garden club work tirelessly to raise community awareness of water conservation. Succulents, being both beautiful and waterwise, are a popular landscape solution.
The Water District's headquarters has a marvelous succulent garden. In fact, you might say the Spanish colonial building celebrates succulents. It's also the site of Laguna's annual SmartScape Expo, a free family event with landscape experts, workshops, irrigation advice and more.
As you browse my garden-tour gallery, be sure to notice how the bold shapes of aloes, agaves and aeoniums contrast with finer-textured ornamentals. And if you happen to live along the coast of Southern CA yourself, well, what are you waiting for? Grab these ideas and get growing!
Succulents in Laguna gardens
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