The Rose Society of Saddleback Mountain (RSSM),a non-profit organization affiliated with the American Rose Society, is sponsoring its 26th “Elegant and Enchanting Garden Tour” of five unique and beautiful private gardens in South Orange County. The tour will take place on Saturday, May 11, 2019 from 10 AM to 4 PM. Proceeds from prior garden tours have funded Horticulture and Plant Science scholarships at a number of Southern California colleges including Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly Pomona and San Luis Obispo, and Saddleback College in excess of $50,000.00.
Enjoy your Mother’s Day weekend by touring a curated selection of gardens from Laguna Niguel to Portola Hills. Stroll through a variety of garden styles that will inspire you to create your own personal garden paradise with new ideas around every turn.
Each garden is unique, representing styles from Cottage to California Native, and from expansive view lots to petite patio. Be inspired as you enjoy exploring a secret garden replete with fruit trees, fairy gardens and a She Shed, a patio garden that maximizes entertaining space using multiple garden rooms, water features, and an amazing array of stunning container plantings, or a garden of lovely California natives that requires almost no irrigation to thrive.
Garden #1 – This year, enter one garden through a side yard bordered with roses and inhabited by a few lucky chickens. Continue along a lovely expanse of turf bordered by a beautiful family-designed pool to the Secret Garden area. Explore the Secret Garden, searching for cottage plantings and herbs, fairy gardens, and even a she-shed. The Master Gardener owner is blessed to have her entire family help with this lovely space.
Garden #2 – The adjacent garden is designed and maintained by a gardener whose expertise is California Native Plantings. This low-water-use garden features mature oaks, sycamores, toyons, California lilacs, poppies and sages.  Three gravel retention basins capture rainwater in the front yard, and gravel seating areas in the backyard provide additional infiltration into the ground water.  As one wanders toward the back of the yard, the character of the garden changes to a relaxed natural feel leading into Whiting Regional Park.
Garden #3 – This garden owner has creatively utilized her rather small lot, transforming it into a lovely sanctuary encompassing several distinct entertaining areas with an impressive array of plantings. A highlight of the side yard is a grapevine that adds vertical interest to this narrow area, and canopies one of many garden beds you’ll enjoy as you explore further. The extensive use of pots throughout the garden, as well as finding creative ways to display them at different heights provides the opportunity to include an even wider variety of plants. An outdoor kitchen provides the opportunity to entertain guests as they enjoy the several seating areas, water features, and outdoor artwork.
Garden #4 – From a front patio garden surrounded by a rose arbor and picket fences, the side gate beckons you to enter the rear garden sanctuary, brimming with sounds, sights and fragrances that delight your senses. The focal point of this lovely garden is a beautiful waterfall that meanders down a tall rear slope, and provides an opportunity to explore several seating and viewing areas. Large mature trees provide dappled shade throughout the garden, providing the many plantings, including roses, with a generous dose of sunshine.
Garden #5 – As you enter the rear garden through the patio, you may not even notice the built-in kitchen bar and outdoor fireplace, as the view of this large garden on a hilltop immediately demands your attention! Before the drought, this garden primarily consisted of large beds of roses, but water restrictions forced the gardeners to get creative with their plantings, and now the central areas are adorned with a lovely selection of less water-thirsty plants surrounded by attractive gravel pathways. Thankfully many roses remain, and the water features add an extra treat of sights and sounds. Don’t miss the upper deck for a stunning overview of the garden.
Advance purchased tickets are $25 and $30 on the tour date. Visit our website ‘’ to pre-purchase tickets using PayPal, and for other ticket purchasing options. You may also purchase tickets at Dana Point Nursery, using cash or check only, and receive a $10 gift certificate with each ticket purchase. Please note that some gardens may have limited accessibility, or have uneven surfaces or steps. Children must be well-supervised at all times.
The Rose Society of Saddleback Mountain’s monthly meetings occur on the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m., are open to the public, and are conveniently located at the Norman P. Murray Center in Mission Viejo. Check our website for upcoming meeting topics which include all things gardening, attracting birds and butterflies to your garden, and much more! Refreshments are provided. Our group maintains the Mission Viejo Library Rose Garden where you may find hundreds of beautiful roses in bloom spring through fall. Don’t miss the gorgeous first bloom starting in mid-April. You won’t be sorry!
Photos are from previous tours.