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Posts Tagged ‘Peggy Miles Memorial Garden’

We had three gardens left to see as I toured with Ann’s garden club from Vancouver, Washington.

Next was Jo’s garden, always a big favourite on a garden tour.  Ann had seen it before but agreed that it was even better this year.

entering Jo and Bob's little paradise

entering Jo and Bob’s little paradise

honeysuckle arbour and gate

honeysuckle arbour and gate

I have seen over and over how joyous expressions accompany Jo’s garden.

This colourful garden brings happiness.

This colourful garden brings happiness.

jo

Lavatera and Cosmos

taking pics and taking notes

taking pics and taking notes

chatting with Jo

chatting with Jo

A suspenseful situation was brewing while we were at Jo’s.  The next garden was to be Gene’s garden, and because of the story of how it had been created by him and his late wife Peggy,  it mattered to me greatly that he be there.  There is something that happens after a garden tour if you are going through a hard time in life.  The tour preparation can be very absorbing and distracting, and the tour day is an exhilarating high…and then one crashes and reality sets in.  This happened to my friends Tom and Judy when their garden was on tour while he was going through chemo.  Right after the tour, reality hit them with a thud.  (I am happy to say he is fine over a year later!)  The same happened to Gene:  the let down after tour day and all the memories that he was able to share about Peggy’s garden.  I knew having Ann’s club come through the garden would be a pick me up, just as it was last year for Tom and Judy.  So  I called him as soon as we got to Jo’s to say we would be at his home in about half an hour.  He told me there was a problem:  he had to meet briefly with an engineer.  He’s the Long Beach City Administrator so has many responsibilities.  I decided (conspiring with Ann) that I had to delay the tour, somehow, even though the garden club members were getting hungry…so after Jo’s, I took them next door to see the garden at the Boreas Inn, just two doors north.   The beautiful interior of the inn (which we walked through) and the gardens on the west side between the inn and the dunes kept them occupied for a little while longer.  I was so anxious about timing that I forgot to take any photos of them there.

After that, I could delay no longer and we went to the south end of Long Beach to Gene’s garden:  The Peggy Miles Memorial Garden.  Gene had not yet returned…

the garden club at Gene's

the garden club at Gene’s

Ok, if he could not meet them, I decided I would at least have a photo for him, and I gathered the club members in the courtyard.  (They had already oohed and ahed over its every detail.)

Ann is third from the right.

Ann is third from the right.

But then, as they began to leave the courtyard, I had an idea.  I did not want them to miss the essence of this garden, so I called to Ann to get them to wait while I looked something up on my iPhone.  Of course, it took a long time to load…and I could not find the photo that I needed on Facebook…and then I remembered Debbie Teashon’s beautiful article about the garden on her website, Rainyside.com.  I knew the photo was there…and it loaded.  So I exerted all my crowd control and gathered the ladies back into the courtyard.  I said, “You must hear these words to understand this garden completely.  This was what Gene wrote and had on a display of photos of Peggy and her garden for the guests to read on tour day.”  And I read from my little phone screen, somehow without crying:

Gene's story of the garden

Gene’s story of the garden

The garden club was so moved, all were misty eyed, and one was weeping.  They expressed awe at how beautifully written the words were.   We then went around to the front of the townhouse so I could get one last photo of the group for Gene.

around the house for a photo

around the house for a photo

One group member said she was still crying.  As I took the photo…he drove up!  You can see the members of the club turning their heads as his car turns into the drive.

gene arrives

My mission was complete, and there was a little time for visiting.  Gene was told how much they appreciated what he wrote, and that they were not sure all husbands would do the same for their wives.  The mood was lightened when I said that is exactly what had been heard on tour day:  Women saying “I don’t think my husband would do this for me!”  Gene spoke of how he had gone to grief counseling and learned that you really do not “get over” such a loss, and it is okay, or good, to not get over it.  (Who would want to “get over” someone they loved?)

Gene and the garden club talk of love and loss.

Gene and the garden club talk of love and loss.

After that, we had only my garden to walk through.

Ann's garden club in my garden

Ann’s garden club in my garden

Eryngium 'Jade Frost' being admired

an Eryngium being admired

We walked round all the beds and talked plant talk.   The garden club is comprised of women who, I realized when I rode around with them, talk of country clubs and travel at an economic level that is miles beyond my working class life, but they have just as much interest in a good garden attached to a humble “double wide trailer” as they do in a fine garden in a gated community like Butterfly Shores.  I like that.

more attention for the Eryngium!

more attention for the Eryngium!

And then they all departed to have their lunch, with lots of appreciation for their tour day, leaving me with the late afternoon and evening to do my own preparations for the edible garden tour which would be just four days hence.

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Monday, August 5th, we needed to do a check up on Gene’s and Jo’s gardens because on the 7th, I would be coming around with a ladies’ gardening club.

Gene’s garden, the Peggy Miles Memorial Garden

Looking west from the street:  Gene's garden would catch any gardener's eye.

Looking west from the street: Gene’s garden would catch any gardener’s eye.

the street-side garden

the street-side garden

the obligatory painted sage photo!

the obligatory painted sage photo!. Courtyard gate and veg box in background.

I knew the courtyard would be a big hit with the garden club.

the cozy, shady courtyard (looking north from the gate)

the cozy, shady courtyard (looking north from the gate)

a blue Scabiosa from 7 Dees

a blue Scabiosa from 7 Dees

I love this flower that Gene acquired and planted.

I love this flower that Gene acquired and planted.

One of Gene's containers

One of Gene’s containers

featuring a fabulous annual verbena that he found somewhere!

featuring a fabulous annual verbena that he found somewhere!

His little drainage garden is going strong and I knew the club would love it.

drainage area by the street

drainage area by the street

We did some very light weeding and deadheading just to make it perfect.

Jo’s garden

Jo and Bob were still out of town so we put in a good session of deadheading and weeding while I worried about whether they would be back in time for the garden club.  Without them, the water feature in the patio would not be functioning and it adds so much to the garden.  (I won’t leave you in suspense:  They did get back.)

the newest perennial planting, still luscious

the newest perennial planting, still luscious

lily

lily still blooming, waiting for Jo’s return

and another

and another

and another

and another

and more

and more

and more

and more

the tall dark red one

the tall dark red one

another, with daisies

another, with daisies

and one in bud

and one in bud

I was so very pleased that the lilies would still be blooming for Jo; had been afraid she would miss their biggest show.

looking west

looking west

view from the deck, looking northeast

view from the deck, looking northeast

on the deck

on the deck

Crank’s Roost

We ended the day with a weeding and pruning visit to Crank’s Roost.  This might be our last visit to this garden that we took on a couple of years ago.  No, four years ago!  It is about to be sold, but its owners are very likely moving to another garden which we quite admire.

It was rather poignant taking the last photos of the garden after we were done.

front porch

front porch

front window

front window

patio

patio

hammock

hammock

back porch

back porch

north side

north side

The north side of the cottage is the area we have worked most on, developing paths and plantings in what was a boggy wilderness.

shady sit spot

shady sit spot

I had planned to plant lots more lilies...

I had planned to plant lots more lilies…

From outside the gate…closed for maybe our last visit here.

maybe the last photo...as we leave

maybe the last photo…as we leave

I did not get all verklempt about it.  At some time in the next 12 years, I am going to have to let go of a lot of gardens as I doubt I can keep working this hard into my late 60s.

At home, I had another edible success:  a really quite impressive salad from the garden!

less than a week till the August 11th edible tour!

less than a week till the August 11th edible tour!

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