Sunday, October 31, 2010
happy halloween


I hope you all have a very fun, safe, but really scary, Halloween!

MORE TO COME...........

Wednesday, October 27, 2010
the garden then and now

It is amazing how huge most of the plants have gotten--especially all the get a real sense of how BIG some of these plants are now...Below, I took a picture of Shawn standing next to the corner Euphorbia Ingens that you can see in the first and second pictures above.......And look at that Euphornia Amak Verigated, behind it---it is even bigger and taller......To see how it looked when it was first planted---here is a reminder, below...... Deep in the background is that first corner-stone Euophorbia....It wasn't tiny, but next to how it looks now---it was minuscule.....And since we are looking at this view above, here below is how it looks now from a similar angle...... This picture is not an exact match by any means, but it shows the enormous growth of so many of the plants---even the little ones which are very very slow growing. (And the 'natural light' was not great at all because everything had grown so much there really wasn't a lot of light that could get through when we were there last month.....) Below one of the smaller Cactus plants that had grown quite a bit, too, as mentioned above..... Not a great picture...but here is a better one, below.....The plant I wanted you to see is the small-tall one right in the middle in the photo above, but over on the left in the picture below...... See how the top of it has all that new growth? It was thrilling to see how so very many plants were thriving and still looking healthy and with new growth. The Euphorbia Cooperii that appears to be behind there---the light-green-almost-yellow-with-dead-withered-tops, has not done as well. I think it is because it is not getting enough sun or light. They are a more delicate plant to begin with and need just the right environment to truly thrive..... Above, we see one of the smaller but more mature Euphorbia Ingens that had to be so carefully packed for moving so the arms would not break off---it is next to the barrier that was erected to separate the kitchen door from the seating area which is being created-with-cement in the picture above......And here it is, below, today...... It is magnificent! But, if it had to be moved now....well, it would be an even more major packing job, plus---these plants are very very heavy. Each arm could weigh 60 or more pounds.....Woody would feel so good knowing the plants he grew from seed and nurtured so lovingly are doing so well, all these many years later..... Still in that same area but looking the other way....remember this picture above? Joe standing behind another Euophorbia Ingens......Here below, how it looks today....... It too has grown so very beautifully---That is Shawn standing in the background.....These Ingens have not grown as much or as high as their sister/brother plants that have gotten more sun.....These are in more shade because of the Kapok Trees...but, still, they have done beautifully in these 15 years.......There is more and you will get to see it next time around........And isn't it all just amazing and thrilling?It truly touched my heart in a very deep way to not only see that the Garden was still there, even though the building is empty now, but also, that it is thriving so fantastically.......! All I could think was: Woody and Abbie would be so incredibly proud.

More To Come.........

Saturday, October 23, 2010
dedication day - may, 1995

Here are the few pictures that I have of the Dedication Day of The Hospice Garden. (In the white suit--in profile---is Michael Weinstein, who started AHF and is still the driving force behind it, and that is my dear friend Hanna in the long black coat with her back to us...) Someone took these pictures, but I'm afraid I don't remember who, and whoever it was gave them to me and these are the only pictures I have of that day. AIDS Healthcare Foundation may have some somewhere, but I have not called to ask them....(I really should do that). And these are the only pictures I have of the "finished" garden back in 1995....... I can tell who some of the people are from their backs---That's Charley Berliner in the light colored suit in the foreground.....And way up near that sign that is posted over to the right in the white top and dark pants is Abbie Wood, "Woody's" Widow who donated all the plants for this special garden.....I am standing in the background holding a microphone and saying something about the creation of this garden..... Behind me is a double picture of Woody that we had blown up just for the occasion---without his passion there would be no Cactus Garden..... In the picture above, standing with me holding some kind of special framed acknowledgement to me for the Garden, is Steve Balfour, one of the greatest gifts of friendship from my long-time involvement with The S.T.A.G.E. Benefit. Steve was working at AIDS Project Los Angeles when they were the recipients of the STAGE Benefit Fund raiser---A lovely wonderful smart human being filled with integrity and with incredible humanity in his heart and his soul. At this point in time, he was working at AHF and that is how STAGE got involved with this very special organization...... Here we are--I am introducing the very sweet Abbie Wood so she can say a few words to the crowd and so she can be thanked properly by 'the powers that be'. Another shot below......You can see that we have put in all the little rocks I spoke of in the last post, plus the Hand Railing...... Abbie and Woody were people I might never have met if it weren't for my love and addiction to Cactus....Such sweet good people----It makes you believe what Anne Frank said in her diary---"In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart...". These two people certainly exemplified the goodness of a loving caring heart. This person above must have been the official AHF Photographer--I really must call them.....I had suggested that it would be a very nice thing to have some kind of permanent plaque thanking Woody for these lovingly raised plants....You can see it there on the left, at the edge of the garden. It turned out, that without my knowledge, they had made a commemorative plaque for me,too....You can see it, way over on the right edge there.....(I got some pictures of both of these plaques--in close-up---when I went back to the garden last month---for the first time in many many years......) This grouping above is of many of the people involved in the STAGE Benefit, plus some people from AHF. The four ladies in front are Carole Cooke who has performed in almost every show since it began in 1987; Joyce Van Patten, who was a Co-Chair, along with Betty G. and me for about three years; my dear Betty Garrett, who is still the "chair" of this event and still performs in it each year...and me, Co-Chair for twenty years......I remember it was a rather cold May day....... A different shot of this group---From left to right----All members of the Executive Committee of Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event--STAGE: John Beaird, Exec. Comm.; Jonathan Kanes, Producer; Carole Cook, Performer; Joyce Van Patten, Co-Chair; and behind Betty, David Galligan, Founder. Director & Producer; Betty Garrett, Performer and Co-Chair; Me, Producer, Co-Chair & Exec. Comm; Steve Balfour, Event Coordinator; and Behind Steve, Tim Bourke, Exec. Committee; Michael Weinstein, Head of AHF;and hidden behind the one young man I do not know is Tony Dans, Exec. Comm; and last but not least, the 'late' great Richard Loring. Producer and Exec. Comm., a teacher, a composer, and one very special man. Pictures of the Garden as it looks today will be coming along next time.........

(Do click on these pictures to make them bigger......)

More To Come.....

Note: I hope I am not boring everyone with this series...It was a huge part of my creative life along with many other things, back-in-the-day, and that is why I wanted to document it, as best as I could, here on my blog..........

Tuesday, October 19, 2010
hospice garden, continued

Here are a few pictures of the plants we moved and re-planted at The Chris Brownlie Hospice back in 1995........ These were the plants we had to move from Woody's Garden to the Hospice......All those arms had to be wrapped to make sure they did not break off. Frankly, I think Seven and his crew did magnificent work!In this picture above, you can see the large plant in the foreground and some of the smaller ones---right there in the middle----which we were now ready to plant because Joe Leone had finished with what he had to do with the cement walkways and cement steps...... And Joe had "tiered" the incline of the hill with these Railroad Ties so that the planting areas had some depth to them......You can see above, a few of the smaller pieces that we planted on the day these were taken back in 1995. We planted lots of little Cacti---hoping that they would grow and survive over the long haul. Not all of them did, but, that was not surprising. There are so many factors that go into the survival of any plants, but particularly the survival of Cactus...... In this picture above, you can see Seven---over on the far left of the picture, and one of his guys....These men worked so very hard and with so much skill.....Cactus and Succulents have special needs and the people caring for these plants need to know and understand these 'special' needs.....Above, Seven is over there on the right, continuing to plant some of the smaller pieces.....That Pachypodum over on the left was one of those beautiful plants that I knew might not make it over the long haul...But, for the present, back in 1995, it was a wonderful and beautiful addition to the Garden--different than anything else we planted..... There it is....right there in the middle of the picture. This amazing plant has a very glorious and beautiful leafy soft top and the lower part looks dangerously harsh and spiny....I find this so Artistically beautiful as well as quite extraordinary in the context of 'nature'....It's like the Beauty of Lions or Tigers---yet, they are dangerous and can be very scary predators. If course there are differences. Pachypodums are only dangerous if you happen to brush up against the spiny parts. These plants are actually all quite benign and they have a very beautiful fragrant flower, when blooming---in fact the flowers smell very much like Plumeria. We actually planted two of them. What I love about this picture above is---You can see the "work" that is going on...The piles of Cactus Mix over on the lower left---this "mix" is an essential part of any Cactus or Succulent surviving. It is the proper environment for the roots of these Plants so that there is not only the correct drainage---The Most Important Component Of Cacti Survival---but also, there are also very special nutrients in this 'mix'. Oh, and by the way...See those chairs over on the upper left....I got these comfy chairs so that the people living at this Hospice could sit out here and be surrounded by these incredibly peaceful and beautiful plants....a peaceful 'living' inspiration. You have to remember that 20 or more years ago, AIDS patients had no place to go and no hope of survival---(I know over 40 people who died back in those horrendous early years of this pandemic...). All these of men above may not look that sick...but they were. And they had no place to go. No one---no 'facility' was set up for people with HIV/AIDS---well, there were very few places, at that time, that were accepting of people dying of AIDS. Because back then it was a death sentence----back then. before the so called "cocktail". The work continued and the Garden began to really take shape. Adding the smaller pieces made a huge difference. Above.....everything cleaned up and Seven watered all the new plantings as well as washing down the stairs.....There were still two elements that needed to be added to this Garden. Some pretty small stones that would cover all of the dist and would help the smaller plants stand out. And a rather simple but needed railing for the steps, which would help those people who were still mobile to steady themselves as they walked down or up those nice wide steps..... Above, the wonderful Seven Lopez, who was my Gardener back then and still is my Gardener today in 2010! He is not only a really dedicated man but a lovely human being, too.....I could not have executed this Garden without him and his great crew of men......The next set of pictures will show the 'Dedication' ceremony in May of 1995....This will be coming along soon.....And yes, there will also be pictures of how this Garden looks today.........

More To Come..........

Friday, October 15, 2010
a garden begins

The first thing that had to happen was me choosing what plants would be moved from Woody's Garden to The Chris Brownlie Hospice (The first pictures are from my garden, but reflect many of the plants that Woody had growing in his garden.....).....Woody had hundreds and hundreds of plants of all Sizes, Shapes, and Varieties. I knew that the plants that would do best there at The Hospice would be The Euphorbia's.....They are very hearty plants and grow fairly quickly. In actuality, Woody had thousands and thousands of plants. Abbie said I could choose any ones I wanted. The section of land at the Hospice was a pretty good size....And it was all on an incline---an easy incline, but an incline, never-the-less. There was no possible way that I could absorb even a Hundred plants...But, I figured, between the larger specimen's and the very small one's, maybe I could plant fifty or sixty.....Moving large plants that have quite a few arms is a very delicate job. Every arm needs to be wrapped in Newspaper or some other kind of paper so that when moved, nothing will break off.....This is time consuming and careful work, too...Loading them on a truck and then actually "moving" them is quite an undertaking, too.....I enlisted my dear gardener Seven and his hand picked crew of men to do this work......Unfortunately I have no pictures of this very fascinating and time consuming operation....And of course, once you get the plants to your destination, everything needs to be unwrapped; holes dug to accommodate each plant; Cactus mix must be used to make sure the plants roots are going to be in the proper soil. Plus, I had to decide what went where....It was very challenging and great fun, too.....I love making these decisions. So......the first things planted were all the larger pieces......In all honesty, I cannot remember how many days this operation took---maybe three.....! (I should ask Seven...Maybe he will remember.)The next part of the creating of this Garden was to get my mason--Joe Leone--a terrific man, to lay some cement walkways and a small flat area at the top of the garden where people could sit and enjoy being surrounded by these wonderful plants. The picture above was taken the day that Joe did this work, having done an on-site evaluation with me, a few weeks before. As you can see, the so called larger plants were still quite small---I had to think about leaving enough room between plants to account for they're coming growth as the years passed..... That's the wonderful Joe, in light blue--right in the center of the picture---There were three Kapok Trees that were already planted on that plot of land. They were perfect in terms of compatibility with Cactus and Succulents.....I am so glad I had the mind to bring my point and shoot analog camera with me the day that Joe put in the walkways---A reminder this was 1995....Joe brought a crew of five or six men with him and of course, the huge Cement Mixer. He donated his time and expertise and the supplies---a very very generous thing to do......This was a very exciting day. Because we had already planted most of the larger pieces, it was fairly easy to figure out where the steps should be placed going from the top down to the street level.....As you can see these were nice wide easy steps---thinking about people using walkers or wheelchairs.And what Joe did was to match in color what was already there, as if it had all been there, forever. Above.....another view from the side of the not-quite-finished steps....And in the foreground, one of the larger wider Euphorbia's, (but one that is much lower-to-the-ground), that we had already planted...... Above, Joe over on the left and one of his workers with the Cement Hose, laying the little Patio area.......A closer look below, at the man with the cement house, just beginning this area......The back-side door of the building went to the kitchen, and it was at the top of the slope where we were planting the garden. It faces the driveway which takes people up to the front entrance of The Hospice around the corner, which you cannot see it in any of these pictures.....We put a simple but not un-pretty barrier up so that the door and possible refuse would be hidden from view, particularly for the people who would be sitting out on this little patio area.Above, the flat patio area from a different angle....I love watching Joe do his "thing"...He works so quickly and easily---He is incredibly organized and professional and knows exactly what he is doing. Above...I don't remember being shocked at this man having to step into the cement---but it shocks me, (behind that plant) did all this in this one afternoon. There was digging to be done and leveling, etc., and of course the mixing and then the big hose that shot the cement out.Then the smoothing and leveling that had to take place.....It was hard work but done in such an efficient manner and with so much skill....Joe had created all the walkways, steps and seating areas in my garden, over a five year period of time---It covered my whole hill below my house and made it possible to visit everywhere in the garden, from top to bottom. I couldn't get over how that little piece of land---that small hill---was being transformed from just a patch of dirt to an honest to goodness Garden.....!It was Beautiful! And part of what made it so beautiful was the generosity of both Seven and his crew and Joe and his crew----it was very touching to me. And it meant a great deal to me personally because I knew these men were really doing all of this, for me, as well as 'the cause'. And it said so much about both of them as human beings and about their incredibly generous hearts......

Next time......After the walkways and patio dried, we were able to come back so that Seven and his crew could plant all the many smaller pieces.....That will be coming along here shortly.

More To Come........

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Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
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