One on One with Nancy Englund


Mermaid Your Day On a Walking Tour

By Gina Dostler

Eight secret gardens lie in wait for the Laguna Garden Club’s annual Gate & Garden tour next week. All within walking distance from each other, the garden tour charms the senses with beautiful landscapes, whimsical elements and an opportunity to slowly explore the lovingly tended surroundings.

 Q: The Laguna Beach Garden Club has been around for quite awhile.

A: Yes, it was founded over 80 years ago. Its purpose is to educate our community in gardening, horticulture, conservation and is involved in many projects. We make annual donations to various public gardens and arboretums. And this tour is one of our major fundraising events that support all our environmental projects and scholarships.

 Q: How long have you been coordinating the tour?

A: It’s the 10th anniversary of our walking tour and I am very proud of it. The first time I went around Laguna choosing this garden and that garden I bundled it up in a walking tour. But I remember when I first took the tour after I moved to Laguna quite a few years back, a car was needed to drive around to each garden. I thought this is so silly, having to look for parking. And so the walking tour was born.

 Q: What’s in store this year on your tour?

A: There are seven gardens plus mine, which I am really excited about. It’s a very interesting location. The whole tour is in the historic Woods Cove neighborhood near Bluebird Park and no gardens are alike. Yet they are close distance to each other where you get to put your explorer hat on and take a self-guided tour, all downhill, through one of the first neighborhoods settled in Laguna. The route itself is the shortest one we have created and I feel probably the most enchanting.

 Q: Any tidbits on the most interesting feature?

A: That’s tough to answer because each garden has so many wonderful things! But there is an incredible collection of hand-made birdhouses that will delight everyone. You’ll find cottage charmers and undersea castles, lots of fun stuff for sure. And in celebration of Laguna’s heritage, open air or plein air artists as they are called in French, have been invited to paint in several of the gardens. Laguna is such an attractive town filled with charming houses, old and new, there is always something interesting to see.

 Q: Will there be more traditional gardens as well?

A: There is an English and Italian garden where the house could be somewhere in Tuscany. And nearby you’ll also get to view a big expanse of wild hills that has been partly cultivated. There is a creek that runs through some of the gardens and contributes to the topography that slopes up and down.

 Q: Where does the tour start?

A: The tour starts at Arabella Laguna, 506 N. Coast Highway, rain or shine. Delicious home-made refreshments will be available and a raffle with a prize provided by Dana Point Nursery. And we always remind everyone to wear comfortable shoes, a broad brimmed hat and don’t forget to bring a camera! Cheerful garden club volunteers will be available in gardens and along the route to answer questions. And at the end of the tour you’ll find an exotic plant sale waiting for you.

Q: When is the event and where are tickets sold?

A: It’s on Friday, May 1, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tickets are $45, which includes admittance to the gardens, a tour brochure that has a map of the route and a round-trip shuttle ride. A limited number of tickets will be available on tour day for $50. You can find tickets at these locations: Laguna Drug, 239 Broadway St.; Tides Inn, 460 N. Coast Highway; Laguna Nursery, 1370 S. Coast Highway; all in Laguna Beach, and Dana Point Nursery, 34100 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point.

For more information, visit

Nancy Englund, Chair

Laguna Garden Club

PO Box 362, Laguna Beach, CA 92652