Ocean Beach Heights Are Blooming Beautiful!

by on July 9, 2021 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Kathy Blavatt

All photographs by Kathy Blavatt

Up at the top of the hill overlooking Ocean Beach are the “Heights,” sometimes referred to as “Ocean Beach Heights,” other times called “Point Loma Heights,” which depends on who describes the area or what maps and documents they are reading.

This neighborhood above Froude Street is formally in the “Peninsula Community Planning Area.” Many residents feel that the houses’ styles and vibe are much more in tune with Ocean Beach.

Two of the area’s large early homes played essential roles in the local history: the 1894 Hillard home on the top of the hill on Brighton Avenue and the large 1915 Craftsman at 4495 Cape May Avenue. In the early 1900s, these homes sat on acres of farmland that they owned and cultivated. They hooked up to the early water supply that Madame Katherine Tingley and Col. Ed Fletcher helped bring to the Peninsula.

The Cape May home includes a fabulous view of the ocean, and during the early 1900s, the property had ten acres of farmland.

The Hillard farm grew lemons. Frank McElwee, an early pioneer who came to Ocean Beach in 1905, worked on the Hillard farm before becoming a realtor, home builder, and owner of Camp Holiday (the white cottages at the entrance to the Ocean Beach Pier on Niagara Avenue). Also, McElwee built a tudor-style home a couple of lots away from Hillard’s house.

History shows us that this hilltop area is fertile and has good gardening conditions, which was apparent on Saturday, June 26, 2021, when the San Diego Floral Association’s annual garden tour featured their walk at the “Ocean Beach Heights!”  “Vistas and Verandahs: The Gardens of Ocean Beach Garden Tour,” was an apropos title for the tour since guests strolled the “Vistas” routes between Venice and Santa Barbara seeing views of Ocean Beach. The “Verandahs” exhibited a variety of splendid gardens.

The tour included various landscape styles that included English Gardens, succulents, palms and cactus, edibles, and exotics.

One of my favorite sites had two cottages with a large front yard full of a collection of unusual plants and rare plants.

Several peach trees were full of fruit, and the edible garden beds were doing well.

Visitors were in for some surprises. Beyond lovely gardens, one home had several friendly turtles that seemed to be as interested in watching the people as the people were as interested as in watching them.

The route of the tour went by the sculptor’s home on Santa Barbara. The front yard is a treat to the eyes, where people could see some marvelous medal sculptures dispersed among the plants.

Also, the border of the yard includes chimes that lined the fence, which was very popular among the tour group as they rang throughout the day.

The lovely, primped yards made me realize I had a lot of weeding and trimming to do in my garden! Since the tour, I have been out every day battling the prolific greenery that thinks it is in a hothouse, loving the muggy weather we are having.

Besides the walking tour, there was a list of gardens you could drive by. The famous O.B.’s Wisteria Garden was one, and so was Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.

It was great to see so many people out to see our local blooming beautiful gardens

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