On May 7, 2011, the city of Venice opened its doors and gardens to 2,000+ eager visitors for the 18th-annual Venice Garden & Home Tour. The event raises funds for the local Neighborhood Youth Asociaion's Las Doradas Children's Center and gives guests a peek into the bungalows, cottages, and modern marvels that make Venice a design destination.
The leaves reach nine feet (almost three meters); its nocturnal blossoms are white with the first moon, and pink with the second, with a sweet aroma that will fill the night. Victoria water lilies (Victoria amazonica) are the largest in the world, and have been marveled at since first discovered in 1801.
A weed-covered lot in Southern California, owned by Caltrans, is completely redone by a couple who live adjacent to the garden, complete with native varieties, a citrus grove, and hundreds of new plants, creating a Mediterranean idyll.
Sunflowers can grow remarkably fast, and incredibly tall. Young gardeners, unwitting cultivators, and casual competitors have all planted extraordinary sunflowers—here's a look at some of the tallest (and the craziest, including one with 104 flower heads!).