The Cayucos Garden Club In Action

Through water-wise gardens and plants, the goal of the Cayucos Garden Club is to "further an interest in growing and arranging plants; to serve the general community; to assist with the development of projects of conservation of natural resources, and to encourage civic beautification" (www.cayucosgardenclub.org). It was with this commitment to service in mind that the CGC adopted a triangle of garden space at the juxtaposition of Old Creek Road and Highway 1 in Cayucos.

Since 2008, Cayucos Garden Club members have regularly weeded, pruned, and watered the County-owned median off of Old Creek Road and Highway 1. In the past year, the Club has been sprucing it up a bit, raising funds and developing a theme for the renovation. The Club and its volunteers chose the name "Beauty Without Water" for the new-and-improved garden triangle, which lent itself perfectly to a succulent planting well-adapted to coastal conditions.

Goals in hand, the Club's officials reached out to Nick Wilkinson of Grow Nursery for design concepts. "We'd toured Grow before," said Margaret Betz, Parlimentarian of the Club. "We knew Nick would design something that would be beautiful and would conserve water at the same time."

Nick was excited about the idea: "It seemed like a fun project where we could educate the public about drought-tolerant plants," he said, "and about how lush and beautiful a garden like this can be." Nick brought in Gardens by Gabriel for some cultivated collaboration and together they strategized on the installation. In terms of demolition, stone, and consultation in general, Jon Negranti of Negranti Construction was the only man for the job. Jon had taken note of the Garden Club's near-daily work on the garden triangle over the years, and simply stopped by one afternoon to offer his services.

In May of 2012, with Nick and Gabriel's conceptual plan complete, it was time to take Jon up on his offer! The Negranti crew cleared the site over the course of a day, and soon afterward Central Coast Landscape Products delivered 25 yards of soil that the ladies of the Club spread alongside Gabriel and Nick. Together, Jon and Gabriel selected boulders that would make natural focal points, showcase native rock, and add to the contour of the garden. 

With the proceeds from their October fundraiser, the Garden Club was able to purchase a collection of plants that Nick hand-picked from various nurseries. Gabriel, Nick, and CGC Beautification Committee Chair Betty Hall donated a number of plants to flesh out the plant palette. Collection complete, the volunteers began to plant.

All in all, the garden took around a week to complete.  At its dedication, several volunteers were honored, including Jon, Nick, and Gabriel, as well as Betty Hall, who tends the garden frequently and exemplifies the volunteer spirit. "Betty is there nearly every day," said Margaret. "She never stops working."

The Cayucos Garden Club’s members will continue to lend their watchful eyes and steady hands in keeping the young planting weed-free and well-groomed. And with proper care, the garden at Highway 1 and Old Creek Road will need little to no water after it’s established. Its hand-carved wooden sign stands proudly at the garden’s edge, memorializing its many contributors and representing the determination of local businesses, volunteers, and neighbors to promote low-maintenance landscapes. “And, whether public or private,” said Gabriel, “that’s the future of fine gardening.”


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