Wednesday, 19 October 2016
We said goodbye to Jo’s garden today after doing the last fall clean up there before new owners take over.
The depth of my sadness when we were about to leave surprised me. Jo and Bob are my most longtime steady clients on the Peninsula. In 1993, I started gardening three hours a week for Jo’s mother, Maxine, and in 1994 Robert and I helped Jo turn her garden from a monoculture of rhododendrons to a perennial garden designed by Dale Browse (who at the time lived in the Seaview home that our friend Patti has now). Jo was then about two years younger than I am now.
By the end of 1994, we had become Jo’s regular helpers. She did most of the gardening herself. We came in about once a month in spring and summer, usually before the festivals when her family and friends would come to stay.
After they had both retired, Jo and Bob (whose main home is near Tacoma) spent almost all May through early September here.
In 2005, Allan became my co-gardener and has put in 11 years of helping out at Jo’s.
So today, we did the last fall clean up. Jo likes the perennials clipped back to the ground every autumn. With a sad feeling in my heart, I said goodbye. (All these photos are from today unless otherwise indicated.)
Jo’s garden via Google Earth
Goodbye to the house and guest cottage, built in 1892. (guest cottage east wall)
Goodbye, raised bed rhododendrons in the driveway. Building this bed and transplanting these shrubs from the future flower garden was our first job at Jo’s garden in 1994.
Goodbye to the entry garden where we planted pink and red geraniums every May.
Jo spent a goodly amount at the Basket Case Greenhouse every spring for geraniums and other annuals for her window boxes and baskets and containers.
after planting the geraniums in May 2016
Jo on garden tour day 2013
Goodbye to the guest cottage.
an ensuite one bedroom haven for friends and family
Goodbye to the historic house and its spacious back deck.
Goodbye to the sheltered nook by the back door, great for taking shelter in a rain squall.
Goodbye to the rounded bench on the deck.
comfiest wooden bench ever
on garden tour day, July 2013
snow on the deck, December 2013 (Allan’s photo)
Jo left lots of garden art for the lucky new owners.
Jo once told me that she was not a good garden designer. She was just wrong about that. The whole garden was full of charming decorations. I said to her at the time that the inside of the house, rich with quilts and embroidered samplers and family pictures, showed her good sense of design. (Over the years, she has given us three of her quilts.)
Goodbye to the center courtyard.
Goodbye to the center courtyard door, from which Jo often emerged to chat with us. Her sewing machine (she’s an avid quilter) was right inside.
goodbye to the clever courtyard drainage, created a couple of summers ago by one of Jo’s daughters or granddaughters.
Goodbye to the bird feeders, now holding only pine needles.
I hope the new owners will feed the birds.
Goodbye to the central courtyard white rambling rose, a start from a rose in Maxine’s garden.
Goodbye, stone garden cat.
Center courtyard, July 2013. We will miss Coco, too.
center courtyard, July 2016
the northwest garden, July 2016 (just west of the center courtyard)
Goodbye to the sun porch that wrapped all the way around the west side of the house.
Goodbye to the huge second lot, which I would have turned into more garden if only I could have bought this place.
Goodbye to the honeysuckle and clematis arbor just east of the central courtyard.
Goodbye to the northeast garden with its heart gate and narrow brick path.
By the metal gate. I wish this for the new owners.
Goodbye, tiny little spigots of the sprinkler system that were so easy to cut by accident.
Goodbye, little northeast garden bench.
northeast garden path, July 2013
the last sweeping of leaves out of the gate. Goodbye, little white gate.
Goodbye to the steep driveway that always caught our trailer hitch!
Goodbye, Jo’s garden. Jo tells me she and Bob hope to buy a little cottage closer to Tacoma for a getaway. I hope they find the perfect one and that their time there is as sweet as the summers in Long Beach. I wouldn’t want to continue working this garden for anyone but Jo. I’m so used to doing it Jo’s way. I’ve recommended Sea Star Gardening for any help the new owners might need.
Two favourite posts from the past about Jo’s garden:
on the garden tour in 2013 with photos of the entire garden at its summer best
the first post I ever wrote about Jo’s garden (2007)
The Josie’s Garden sign is still there. I feel the same mix of happy memories and tears writing this as the sun and raindrops on this sign.