Getting back to the garden - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Getting back to the garden

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - After the Garzas lost their home in the 2007 wildfires, Renee told her husband Jorge exactly what she wanted.

"'I want you to build me a house with all the bells and whistles,' and here they are, all the bells," Jorge said.

On Thursday all across Rancho Bernardo, neighbors and friends celebrated rebirth and renewal, resiliency and botany at the Bernardo Gardeners Spring Garden Tour. While Jorge, an architech, rebuilt the house, Renee went to work on the yard.

"She has all the credit for the garden," Jorge said.

Together, the Garzas turned tragedy into triumph.

"It was a great opportunity to re-do our life from scratch," Jorge said.

From smoldering cinders to succulent symmetry, the Garzas' project is a parcel of Shangri-La, a westwood slice of paradise.

"We have a name for the house -- Phoenix," Jorge said.

The wildfire also torched Jerry and Pearl Decker's yard in Oaks North, so they completely redesigned with simplicity in mind.

"We toned down the roses and did a lot of succulents and drought-resistant plants," Pearl said.

The Deckers' lavender-hued garden proves that bigger isn't necessarily better.

"We needed a haven. We traveled so much, we needed to have something small and easy to take care of," Pearl said.

A new wall gave them a sense of seclusion.

Along with a few planting tips and some design advice, these residents had a deeper message to share.

"The house was burned. Better things will come out of a tragedy," Jorge said.

Like their gardens, the roots of Rancho Bernardo grow deeper and stronger every day.

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