The Cambrian

Having a blooming good time

Lee Oliphant, at right, and her mother, Una Oliphant, enjoy a stroll through Lee's garden.
Lee Oliphant, at right, and her mother, Una Oliphant, enjoy a stroll through Lee's garden. PHOTO BY DON SATHER

The public is once again invited to participate in New Dawn Montessori School’s Annual Cambria Garden Tour and Extravaganza this Sunday, May 16. Get out your festive sun hats and walking shoes and enjoy local gardens, gourmet food from local restaurants, and music and art at each location. The “happening” is a major fundraiser for the school and is always well-attended by locals and visitors from other areas.

The original Cambria Garden Tour is part of a two-day event jointly sponsored by the school and the Cambria Nursery & Florists. As part of the Garden Extravaganza, Saturday, May 15, is dedicated to gardening demonstrations, workshops, music, food, and drawings. Sunday, the day of the tour, begins with a continental breakfast, then time for meandering through local gardens. You’ll enjoy tastes, sights, and sounds, “a tour of the senses.” A finale of desserts and champagne at the nursery will follow where exciting raffle prizes will be awarded.

The 17th annual tour includes six unique gardens in Cambria, from expansive to intimate. My own garden will be on the tour this year. Many of you who read my garden column have listened as I’ve related (and sometimes lamented) my efforts in turning a pile of dirt on a new construction site to a vibrant, dynamic environment; a place where family and friends can find respite and where my husband, Don Sather and I, can produce food for the table. We’ll be there to talk gardening, worm composting, and share chicken experiences with you.

Also included on the garden tour is the breathtaking hilltop estate of Tim and Linda Winsor, off San Simeon Creek Road. The site has panoramic views from the Santa Lucia Mountains to the ocean. An orchard, vegetable gardens, Koi pond, and handmade garden art decorate this unique landscape.

A lush forest setting on Buckley, the home of Don and Nancy Ukkestad, features meandering paths and bridges, a rose garden, orchids, and a greenhouse. Just down the road on Kathryn, at the home of Sharron and Mike Weakley, you’ll experience a park-like garden, complete with waterfall, terraces, and majestic oaks. This tranquil setting encourages visitors to relax and rejuvenate.

A smaller, intimate garden space will be on view on Drake, owned and created by Tom and Bonnie Parsons, as well as a transformed vacant lot next to a Marine Terrace home. The garden, owned by Tom and Barbara Gray, is complete with outdoor “rooms” with walls of hedges, plantings, and pathways. The “rooms” provide a patio for dining, and another for a view of the ocean.

The “Garden Extravaganza” includes the Garden Fair on the grounds of the Cambria Nursery & Florist on Saturday, May 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 927- 4747 for information.

The New Dawn Montessori School’s annual Cambria Garden Tour will be on Sunday, May 17, and will begin with registration and a continental breakfast between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. in the gardens of the Cambria Nursery & Florist. Guests are then invited to tour the gardens at their leisure and meet back at the reception for champagne, dessert, and raffle. Prizes awarded for most festive garden hats! Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 on the day of the event. Call 909-2181 for ticket purchases.