Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hortense Miller Garden Destined To Thrive In Laguna Beach, California

 Hortense Miller is a bit of a legend
               for being an avid gardener.

 The Laguna Beach, California, resident tended two and one half acres at her home, much of it on a canyon slope near the Pacific Ocean, for almost half of her life.  She died in 2008 at age 99 and just six weeks short of her 100th birthday.  Her garden, however, continues to thrive and that is exactly what she wanted.

I suspect Ms. Miller worried about what would happen to her garden when she would no longer be able to take care of it. With no heir to inherit the property, and being passionate about this patch of Earth that she created, Ms. Miller gave the property to the city of Laguna Beach in the 1970's with the provision that she would live there, and that it would remain a wild garden and be open to the public.  The Friends of the Hortense Miller Garden provide the upkeep as well as tours, usually arranged by reservation through the city.

Last week, on March 9, Friends of  Hortense Miller Garden hosted a successful open house that was attended by 606 visitors, including myself.

Several artists were on hand to paint the garden on canvas during the open house, 
and dancers performed also.

Meanwhile, I meandered down paths through this hillside known as Boat Canyon,

past the perennials,

admiring the frequent use of tree trunks to create rugged paths, and amazed at the thought of Ms. Miller navigating this garden in her senior years, as she was known to do!

There is plenty to take in, including a large variety of botany.

 The scent of jasmine wafts faintly in the air; while the eye travels

 to the ocean,

 to the canyon view across the way,

and back to a gorgeous specimen of succulent in the garden. 

The birds are chirping and bees buzz from flower to flower here.

On the patio, there are several vines trained on the pergola,
 including this Japanese wisteria just starting to open

and this gorgeous Lady Banks' rose.

The cherry tree (although it remains fruitless this close to the ocean), is bursting into bloom.

While reading a 2005 Los Angeles Times newspaper article about Ms. Miller, I learned that "Hortense" in Latin means gardener. She said then that the meaning of her name is coincidence. 
 But I have to say that I disagree. 

 It seems she found her purpose in life, and definitely meaning in her life, by being a gardener. It only makes sense that her first name is Hortense.

This is GardenEnvy.

Copyright by Jeannine 2013. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Glad to hear this Jeannine. We've heard about her many times before and her contribution to horticulture. her legacy will continue to live on.

  2. What a gorgeous place to see such diverse foliage , flowers and the ocean. And her name means gardener too...perfect!

  3. I will have to add that garden to my list of gardens to visit. Thank you for sharing the photos of that lovely and peaceful looking garden. Beautiful plants and ocean view...
    I'm sure her avid gardening contributed to her longevity!


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