Del Mar Mesa Garden Club visits neighborhood waterwise garden

Del Mar Mesa Garden Club members at their Sept. 11 event.
(Shital Parikh)

On Sept. 11, members of the Del Mar Mesa Garden Club visited John and Cathy McCaw’s waterwise garden in Del Mar Mesa. The club made succulent arrangements in handmade hypertufa planters while paying homage to the departed with a small American flag placed in each planter.

The McCaws have seen much change in the Del Mar Mesa community over the decades. Four homes were built in 1977 in Del Mar Mesa for the couple’s extended family. At the time there was no city water, so the homes depended on well water for 24 years. Forty-four years ago there were lima bean fields where Palacio Del Mar is now built and vast tomato fields where the Fairmont Grand Hotel sits now. In 1968 Al McCaw, John’s father, owned an equestrian facility with 125 horses. That property was originally owned by the sisters of Mercy, who operated a dairy farm between the San Diego Jewish Academy and Del Mar Mesa Road.

The club gathered in the couple’s garden, designed under the guidance of well-known landscape contractor John Scurlock, who also designed the garden of Joan Kroc.

The Del Mar Mesa Garden Club created hypertufa succulents at their recent gathering.
(Shital Parikh)

The property includes a small straw-bale house with a “truth window” that was built in 1995 and a pollinator garden with wildflowers in an area converted from a former chicken coop. They compost their garden waste and vermicompost kitchen scraps to enhance their garden soil. An outdoor bathroom extension is open to the sky and there’s a sandbox for grandkids with a vintage doll house. Other outdoor accents include a wine barrel table, many hypertufa pots planted with succulents, mosaics, a small putting green and informal seating areas.

The club visited the McCaws' garden.
(Yu Linda Song)

“The garden feels much larger than it actually is, and there are surprises in every corner. It has rustic charm and provides instant respite,” said Shital Parikh, president of the Del Mar Mesa Garden Club. “It’s filled with handmade art made from upcycled metal and natural objects. Wherever your eye lands, there is a delightful discovery. It’s a mental treasure hunt that delights the soul.”

The Del Mar Mesa Garden Club, a program of nonprofit Friends of Del Mar Mesa, is a nationally accredited garden club. Monthly meetings are held at the Carmel Valley branch library, on the first Wednesday of the month from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The club also organizes monthly garden visits, workshops, field trips, seeding and pruning demonstrations, and garden talks for members. Membership is $25 a year and is open to all residents of 92130 and surrounding communities or garden zone 10. Email if you are interested in becoming a member.