This coming Saturday, Oct. 30th, Ruben Flores is pulling out all the stops on his Garden Walk with a special “field trip” to two of the most iconic properties in Laguna Beach. These properties are rarely opened to the public, let alone a gaggle of nature-loving, garden-envy fans.

Garden Walkers are asked to meet at the Laguna Nursery by 10 a.m. to purchase their day “pass” for $10. Then, it’s a short drive to the first property, where everyone reconvenes with Pathfinder Ruben leading the way.

October 30th’s Garden Walk explores two of the most iconic and rarely seen properties in Laguna Beach.

$10 Entry for Thousands of Dollars of Free Advice

Ruben invented the Garden Walk 12 years ago. Initially, a handful of ardent gardening fans showed up. Over time, however, the Garden Walk grew to significant proportions. If you’re out and about on a Saturday and see a group of 30 or more people standing at the side of a road, their necks craned to study the same tree, you’ll know you’ve stumbled across the Garden Walk.
It’s an entirely different experience every time, with neighborly folks often spontaneously inviting the entire group into their backyard gardens for a closer look.

Every time I go on these every-other-week walks, I have so much darned fun. Ruben is a walking Wiki of every imaginable tree, shrub, flowering weirdness and weed.

Laguna Nursery Owner Ruben Flores is the creator of the most imaginative every-other-week Garden Walks.

But it doesn’t stop there. Because he has expanded his landscape architect business to interior rescue as well, Ruben knows every architectural style and points out where people have mixed and matched building materials in a good way or a not so good way. Then, he talks about how those surfaces and walls meld or don’t meld with the chosen plants in the landscape.

He talks about pavers and sprinkler placement and where the sun will shine on an inappropriately located plant. He points to dear trees that have been shorn so rudely that their exposed branches have been sunburned. He stops in awe to point out a crafty gargoyle tucked away on a chimney, a rare bloom of Wisteria or a rare African tulip tree (“a spathodea campanulata,” he chirps).

You never know what you’ll find on Ruben Flores’ Garden Walks

When his partner, Nelson Coates, comes along for the walk, you get even more fun information. As one of Hollywood’s most sought after production designers, Nelson is a walking-talking encyclopedia on surfaces, finishes and ghastly versus great aesthetics around a home.

He shares his thoughts on walkways, driveways, pagodas, gazebos and randomly bemoans the wrong use of glass in so many beautiful homes. “Privacy glass is fine, but ‘milk’ is such a terrible color,” he says as he glumly looks on a $9 million home that should have known better.

$10 Entry for Thousands of Dollars of Free Advice

While I can’t guarantee Nelson’s attendance this coming Saturday (he’s currently creating the movie, Hocus Pocus 2 in Rhode Island), I can guarantee that the sights you see and the advice you receive for your own garden is far and above the value of the $10 ticket.

Ruben’s Garden Walks are not strenuous walks but bring good walking shoes and water. The walks are typically about two hours but can stretch to three or four hours if you want to hang around later with the group for margaritas somewhere. It’s the most imaginative way to really discover the magic of Laguna Beach.

Laguna Nursery and Ruben’s landscape business, Visionscape, Inc. are located together at 481 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, just a couple buildings south of Myrtle on Coast Highway.

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