Home & Garden

Earthly delights

The brick circle in the center of the sunny upper garden of Maude Leslie and Marty Martinez is the perfect spot for the gardener to relax and enjoy her achievements.
The brick circle in the center of the sunny upper garden of Maude Leslie and Marty Martinez is the perfect spot for the gardener to relax and enjoy her achievements. TRIBUNE PHOTOS BY JAYSON MELLOM

A drought-tolerant Japanese-inspired garden. A meditative Chinese-influenced garden. Dramatic succulents in a Mexican-themed garden.

These gardens — and more — in Los Osos, Morro Bay and Cayucos will be open to the public Sunday at the 24th annual “Gardens of the World.’’ The Morro Bay branch of the American Association of University Women sponsors the self-guided tour of eight gardens. Light refreshments will be served in one garden.

One of the Los Osos gardens is owned by Maude Leslie and Marty Martinez, who live in a former barn that was converted into a stylish home. Painted barn red, it lends an agricultural ambience to their acre-plus property beside Los Osos Creek.

A master gardener, Maude began in 2003 developing the garden along the driveway. Then, expanding as her energy and budget would allow, she created free-form beds in a former artichoke field. Adept at propagation, she started with 10 plants each of iris and society garlic, and now has hundreds of both. Three young olive trees, two pears and a grapefruit mingle with the flowers. More fruit and nut trees are scattered throughout the property.

Visitors will find numerous sitting areas from which to enjoy the views, including the creek and a small greenhouse. Several master gardeners will be on hand during the tour to demonstrate gardening techniques and answer questions.

Here’s a quick look at the seven other featured gardens:

Elsewhere in Los Osos

Neatly pruned native pygmy oaks in a front yard give the impression of an enchanted forest. The secluded backyard blends a meditative spirit with some playful accents. Masterful carpentry and wind chimes contribute to a delightful walk.


Dramatic succulent plants surround an entertainment area with a Mexican theme, including a kitchen beneath a palm-thatched palapa, and a concrete bench curved around a fire pit. The garden demonstrates artistic uses for concrete, showcasing the couple’s business.


A six-year family project has converted a vacant lot into a spacious garden. Flowers bloom by a picket fence and twine up arbors. Water features around the flagstone patio include a hot tub, a koi pond, water lilies in tall jardinières and a fountain in a barrel.

In Morro Bay

A drought-tolerant Japanese-inspired garden features a dry stream with a bridge, lanterns and a musical fountain. A mature bonsai pine tree peeks through an octagonal fence opening. Behind a wood and copper fence, a Japanese teahouse façade overlooks a secluded patio.


Within a tall fence, a meditative, Chineseinfluenced garden has a granite bench overlooking a pond and a dry stream, enhanced by carved stone figures. The owners show their whimsical side in the open front yard, where animal figures inhabit a scene that includes a dry stream with a blue bridge.


A small garden devotes space to abundant herbs, which are used to cook dishes from around the world. Interesting rocks and garden accents are tucked among the flowers. Visitors can relax and enjoy this delightful garden from an old-fashioned swing.

In Cayucos

A beachside garden was professionally designed for a new, Mediterranean-style house. Coastal-hardy plants include succulents and other Mediterranean-climate plants. Undulating flower beds display a mélange of color. Landscaped terraces enhance the ocean side.

Sharon Crawford is a freelance writer who lives in Los Osos.

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