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Point Loma Garden Walk a ‘beautiful way’ to benefit Rady Children’s Hospital

Bike-riding bunnies add a sense of fun to this backyard.
Bike-riding bunnies add a sense of fun to this backyard. Participants may see sights like this during the April 30 Point Loma Garden Walk.
(Maureen Blackhall)

The Point Loma Garden Walk is billed as “San Diego’s most beautiful way to support Rady Children’s Hospital,” and this year it will take visitors to eight private gardens in Point Loma Heights.

The 19th walk will be held Saturday, April 30, with artisans from the Point Loma Artists Association at work in some of the gardens.

Along with a relaxing way to spend the day outdoors, guests have the added benefit of knowing they are supporting children with medical needs. The self-guided walking tour is organized by hospital auxiliary volunteers from the Point Loma/Dana Unit, which supports Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego’s Division of Plastic Surgery craniofacial services.

Visitors on the 2022 walk can expect to see everything from water features to desert plants. It will include two award-winning gardens, a Zen garden, a Cotswold garden, waterfalls, a lap pool and an abundance of ideas for hardscapes and backyard entertaining, according to co-chairs Pam Caldwell, Pat Wise and Judy Kebler-Griffitts.

The garden locations are kept secret until the day of the tour. At the check-in location, visitors will be given a map and garden brochure in exchange for their online receipt. Gardens can be viewed in any order. Street parking is available along the route.

Water features will be part of the 2022 Point Loma Garden Walk.
(Maureen Blackhall)

One garden the leaders refer to as “a palm tree paradise” features more than 200 palms, including specimens from all over the planet.

“The homeowner will be available to answer any palm tree-related questions, and each tree is numbered and identified,” Caldwell said. “Water features and a grotto are also part of the landscaping.”

Another property has a home that looks like a Cotswold cottage. The garden complements the style of the house, Caldwell said.

A variety of plants form a living wall in this garden.
A variety of plants form a living wall in this garden.
(Maureen Blackhall)

Another whimsical garden is composed of plants and items that happen to strike the owner’s fancy. Visitors will be able to see an outdoor kitchen and a living and dining area, all enhanced by the owner’s choice of plantings.

Guests also can expect an eclectic zen garden full of color, described as “a great place for fun things to happen.”

“The homes are very different from each other, and the walk showcases a variety of architectural styles and gardens,” Caldwell said. “These are real gardens with real people.”

Another feature of the Garden Walk is the boutique at All Souls’ Episcopal Church in Point Loma. A food truck will be on hand, and shoppers will be able to choose from a variety of plants for sale, as well as clothing, jewelry, crafts and garden art. The Artists Association will have a show and sale at the boutique.

Pots overflow with colorful blooms in this local garden.
Pots overflow with colorful blooms in this local garden.
(Maureen Blackhall)

The Point Loma/Dana Auxiliary Unit was formed in 1953 and includes about 40 members, primarily from Ocean Beach and Point Loma. Of the more than 20 auxiliary units, three are in the Point Loma area. The Point Loma/Dana Unit raises funds specifically for the craniofacial department.

The unit’s members receive help from about 50 non-members who volunteer to promote the Garden Walk.

“Through the last 19 years, the tour has grown to what it is now, and we have been able to donate more each year,” Caldwell said. “When we started, it was just five front yards. It’s always changing, and it’s a wonderful way to promote Rady and our community.”

Desert plants cast shadows on a home’s exterior.
(Joel Young)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Garden Walk was canceled in 2020, and a park walk and plant sale were held last year.

“We’re thrilled to have our community events up and running again, and we could really use a lot of support from the community this year,” said Alexandra Loker, vice president of philanthropy at Rady’s.

She added that the hospital is proud of the auxiliary’s work and said many members of the craniofacial department have formed close bonds with unit members over the years.

“Each Garden Walk raises between $60,000 and $90,000 and, in total, the unit has raised more than $508,000 for the department,” Loker said.

The craniofacial department diagnoses and treats complex disorders of the face and skull caused by birth defects, diseases or trauma. The nature of the disorders often requires long-term treatment and many require multiple interventions from a wide range of specialists, such as surgeons, geneticists, ophthalmologists, orthodontists, pediatric dentists, speech pathologists, psychologists and audiologists.

The complications most commonly treated by craniofacial doctors include cleft lip and palate, craniosynostosis (premature fusion of one or more of the skull’s plates) and cranial asymmetry, Loker said.

“A common trait in many of the patients is resilience. Many of the children face significant challenges yet are seen having fun and not skipping a beat of normal childhood,” Loker said. She shared an example of a 9-year-old boy who, despite having a reconstruction device/halo fused to his skull, couldn’t wait to show the staff photos of himself exploring Disneyland.

Funds from the Garden Walk are used primarily for educational programs and advanced training for surgeons to build their skills, a therapeutic day camp for patients with facial abnormalities and more, Loker said.

Rady Children’s Hospital is nonprofit, and no patient is turned away because of a family’s inability to pay. Since about 52 percent of the patients have little or no medical insurance, the hospital relies heavily on philanthropy to help it provide care.

Point Loma Garden Walk

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 30

Where: Eight private gardens; locations are kept secret until the day of the tour

Cost: $30, or $25 each for 10 tickets or more

Tickets and information: Tickets are available online at pointlomagardenwalk.com or in person the day of the tour at All Souls’ Episcopal Church, 1475 Catalina Blvd., and at 1439 Savoy Circle, both in Point Loma.


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