One of the most eagerly awaited rites of spring in the Orange County, CA area is the annual Floral Park Home and Garden Tour, which was held April 27 and 28. Floral Park is a Santa Ana neighborhood of gracious older homes and gardens, some dating back nearly 100 years. Each is a one-of-kind home specially built for its first owner beginning in the 1920s. Others were built later in the 20th century, but all are beautifully maintained and are a joy to visit, if only for the serenity of the tree-lined streets and the pre-computer-age vibe.
This year marked the 27th renewal of the annual event. Nine homes, three gardens, an antique car show, live entertainment, food vendors, a beer garden, and other craft vendors all were part of the fun. Over 500 volunteers participated in the event. Good walking shoes were a must and it was a challenge to visit every venue before the show ended at 4 p.m.
Prior to being developed the area was home to some of the many orange groves that gave our home county its name. One of the earliest residents was Roy Russell, who purchased an entire block and named the street Victoria Drive. He built a Neo Classic Revival Georgian mansion completed in 1927 at the then-extravagant cost of $50,000, and specified that all homes to be built on the block must have 60-foot setbacks from the street and two story floor plans. His gorgeous home set a high standard, but sadly he was a victim of the Great Depression and was forced to sell his residence for only $13,000 just a few years after moving in. Subsequent owners added their own touches and the home was part of this year’s Floral Park Tour. A beautiful period-correct 1930 Chrysler parked in front added greatly to the ambiance. What a treat to see!
A tiki house based on the first owner’s mid-century motel chain feel was another tour highlight. Two vintage cars—a Mercury and an iconic Country Squire wagon completed the look.
Tour landscapes ranging from ancient trees to cascades of roses, succulents and some beautiful bonsais were highlights. Raised vegetable beds, several pools, elegant sheds and outbuildings, and even a dinosaur tree were part of the tour. Discretely hiding in one of the detached garages was an antique pool table!
Singer-guitarist Sabrina Lentini entertained at the beer garden and everything from potted plants, garden art and craft jewelry were available at the vendor booths. Be sure to put this event on your calendar for 2020!