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Pocket Park with a Sea View
April 2009 | Betty Wheeler, Seaview


Photo: Betty Wheeler

Among the many hidden treasures in Del Mar, the small garden just past the northern end of Seaview Ave. surely counts as one of the best, matched only by the spirit with which its owner, John Claus, has chosen to welcome the public to enjoy the space. Perched at the top of Claus’s property, with a spectacular ocean view, the garden is essentially a pocket park, with a park bench and seats, a wrought-iron arch at the entrance, a beautifully rusted “Welcome” sign, an attractive mix of plants, a tiny lawn, and a path that meanders down to Claus’s home.

Photo: Betty Wheeler

Claus says that the garden has evolved in an organic way over the past three years, “picking up good energy” along the way from nature lovers who stop by the garden to enjoy a beautiful sunset or relax. The plantings have developed in an informal, somewhat haphazard manner; for example, Claus planted a small part of a euphorbia that had dropped from a plant elsewhere; it is now a spectacular, large shrub. Sea lavender, bougainvilleas and volunteer lantanas mix with rarer plants like a tall Alluadia procera from Madagascar, currently leafed out from recent rains.
The garden reflects Claus’s appreciation of the concept that “possessing things is all an illusion,” so sharing this special place with the public strikes him as the right thing to do. That spirit is evident in the garden, and in the enjoyment evident in the faces of people who visit the space. And to Claus, that enjoyment is reward enough for his work maintaining the garden. He says, “It’s gratifying to have the opportunity to talk about the garden and the spirit of it; I want everyone to love it and visit as a place where you can ‘be in the now’.”



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