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The secret gardens of San Marcos Ridge

The Secret Gardens of San Marcos. Sue Sly's garden.
Photo by Joe Johnston  04-26-11
The Secret Gardens of San Marcos. Sue Sly's garden. Photo by Joe Johnston 04-26-11 The Tribune

There are many reasons to don your walking shoes this Saturday and visit nine gardens featured in the “Secret Gardens of San Marcos Ridge” tour: all proceeds benefit the new Atascadero Library, the panoramic vistas and scenery are spectacular, and the well-tended gardens in this hidden neighborhood will surprise and inspire you.

To further encourage your attendance, tea and refreshments will be served in English tea party style on the patio of Don and Carol Saueressig’s two-story English cottage home. Musicians and artists will contribute their talents for your enjoyment.

The tightly knit neighbors of San Marcos Ridge started planning this event last year, refining their ideas at monthly potlucks. Typical of the energy and vitality of this ridgeline community, nine homeowners volunteered to share their gardens -- each one different, reflecting the owners’ interests and personalities.

With large lots ranging from two to five-plus acres, gardeners on the ridge share elements specific to their hilltop location -- oaks, clay and rocky soil, deer, bobcats, squirrels, lower summer temperatures due to ocean moisture and breezes, and snow and hail in winter.

So in order to grow ornamentals, vegetables and flowers, creativity – and some fencing – are required. How each homeowner has responded to the challenges of ridgeline gardening is what makes this tour so interesting and educational, as well as delightful to the senses.

Featured gardens on the Secret Gardens Tour, San Marcos Road, 3-F Meadows, Atascadero

  • 10605 San Marcos Road – Tom and Darlene Sherwood will model how to turn a huge, thirsty lawn into low-maintenance, drought resistant and eye-appealing landscaping. (Tickets may be purchased here.)
  • 10665 San Marcos Road – John and Bonnie McCabe have it all in a country setting: arbors, flowerbeds, trees, walkways and a serious vegetable garden with fruit trees.
  • 10725 Vista Road – Wyatt and Deborah Cash built a luxury resort for their chickens and will demonstrate TLC in raising chickens and various organic vegetables – green living at its best.
  • 10715 Vista Road – Mark Stengel and Anne Harris demonstrate how to develop a horse barn and paddock surrounded by landscaped trees and shrubs, a vegetable garden and peaceful place to recline under the oaks.
  • 10720 San Marcos Road – Pete and Sue Sly, Master Gardener, invite you to trails in the woods, gardening under the oaks in raised beds, in containers, and in water. Lots of flowers and magic in their open meadow garden. (Plants will be on sale here.)
  • 10735 San Marcos Road – Don and Carol Saueressign reveal beautiful stone walls, walkways and patios highlighting a myriad of color and variety in the front and back garden areas. (English tea tarty refreshments served here.)
  • 10875 San Marcos Road – Ed and Lorene Cabrera, Master Gardener, developed two types of gardens under the oaks, separated by a natural rock berm on their four acres which they have named, “Baile de los Arboles" (Tree Dance).
  • 10955 San Marcos Road – Bill and Linda McFarlan feature decking and landscaping to appreciate their magnificent views with an infinity deck and spa, colorful containers and flower beds.
  • 11205 San Marcos Road – Tom and Iris Thompson, with the newest property on the tour, will demonstrate how to garden on the edge using a drought resistant design without obstructing the beautiful view. (Tickets may be purchased here.)
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