There are lots of reasons why La Jolla is San Diego, California’s favorite coastal community. One of these is the fact that our community offers so many things to do – including looking at beautiful houses and gardens.

Sometimes this can be a frustrating experience because many beautiful houses and gardens are surrounded by walls and high hedges. However, once a year visitors can find out what lies beyond the entrances by going on the Secret Garden Tour of La Jolla.

That garden tour will take place this Saturday, May 19, from 10am to 4pm, and it’s going to be a grand event.  The six selected properties are eclectic – ranging from charming courtyards at historic houses to breathtaking estates with extensive plantings and ocean views. I recently enjoyed a preview, and now I’m so excited that it’s all I can do to keep “the Secret.”

In addition to sunscreen, you might want to tuck a notebook in your bag, because this 14th Annual Tour will present some great ideas for outdoor entertaining (even a teen-friendly ping pong table with an ocean view). I was also very impressed by the art – ranging from clay sculptures to colorful murals – that enhances the beauty of the gardens.

Most of the houses will be open, and each will have a musician playing in the garden, an artist interpreting on canvas, floral centerpieces, and table-top designs to enjoy. Last year’s popular orchid vendor will be back, and a new succulent seller will be on the scene.

Details are on the website of the La Jolla Historical Society (858-459-5335), where you can also make reservations. The Platinum Tour – which includes shuttle transportation, brunch at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, and an exclusive tour of an additional garden - is sold out, but you can still make reservations for the self-guided tour ($50, $40 for LJHS members*).


Insider tips:

  • Make your reservation ASAP.
  • Tickets may be purchased at Wisteria Cottage, 780 Prospect Street, from 10am to 1pm or online until midnight May 18.
  • Participants can check in (receive your admission wristband and program with self- guided map) at Wisteria Cottage on Friday, May 18, between noon and 4:00 pm. (New this year.)
  • On Saturday, check in will take place at Wisteria Cottage between 10:00 am and 1:30 pm. Those with pre-purchased reservations will have the option of a “drive through” check-in on Eads Avenue, next to Wisteria Cottage, avoiding the need to park. (New this year.)
  • If you are buying tickets on the day of the event, you will need to park and walk to Wisteria Cottage. Tickets purchased on Saturday cost $50 (no discount to LJHS members*).
  • You may visit the gardens in any order.
  • Plant information volunteers at each garden will be holding large flowers so they can be easily identified.
  • The Grande Colonial Hotel La Jolla will provide complimentary breakfasts in their award-winning NINE-TEN Restaurant to guests staying at the hotel on Friday, May 18 or Saturday, May 19. The pre-paid Secret Garden Tour reservation confirmation must be presented to the front desk upon check in. (Each person registered must present a pre-paid confirmation in order to receive the complimentary breakfast.) Free breakfast is only valid on either the morning of Saturday, May 19 or the morning of Sunday, May 20. (New this year.)
  • The weather forecast for San Diego on Saturday is 70 degrees.
  • The paintings done in the gardens will be on display at Wisteria Cottage during the month of June


Click here for more things to do in La Jolla.

Click here to see more photos of La Jolla.


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