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........

Links to this post:


Blogger Mar
had this to say:

What a wonderful sequence of the beginning of your unique garden!! Looking forward to the next sequence.

Friday, October 15, 2010 at 12:47:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

WoW ! Now that's some undertaking!! I can't even imagine moving such large cactus without them breaking! It's all looking Marvelous!!!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010 at 3:01:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

As I scrolled down looking at all the photos I can see that this a big project - very delicate work involved too :D

Friday, October 15, 2010 at 3:42:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I am so impressed with the enormity of the task you tackled (kudos) and also with the gracious help you got from so many. I can't wait to see what happened next. Just a wonderful project.
Love the color of the concrete also.

Friday, October 15, 2010 at 4:31:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

oh my goodness! the sunshine! the plants! the cooperative effort! *sigh* lovely work, as usual, friend. i'm so looking forward to following this process!

Friday, October 15, 2010 at 11:26:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

How very, very kind and thoughtful of all of you. I know it will make a sad time less sad for many. Your heart is as beautiful as I KNOW this garden is!

Friday, October 15, 2010 at 6:32:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

It takes a lot of work to make something look so natural. Beautiful results, though.


Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 11:15:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

How great that everyone got involved to get this project done. What a very worthy cause too!!

Looks like you did well with this project Naomi!! It would have been exciting picking out which plants to put where, etc. I'm looking forward to reading more!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 1:09:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Who but you are allways amazing me?
This was, without doubt, a project most people would not touch at all.
But you did and even report with such great photos.
I clap my hands and say loudly: Hooray. Amazing project with a very good result.
You really tempt me to pop over and have a look and a long lunch talk.
Let's see what we can do in 2011, when we are in Michigan...

btw. Have you seen my report from The Olive Tree Festival in Provence? I think you will enjoy.


Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 2:19:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a wonderful thing you all did. Do you have pix of what it looks like today?

Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 6:45:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a lovely project and gift as well as a testament to Woody's work of a lifetime. Wonderful story and photos

Saturday, October 16, 2010 at 8:21:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I am giving Seven and Joe and their crews a standing ovation

the masonry looks amazing

I know how risky it is to move plants - I moved a few from Brooklyn to NJ and they didn't survive long

Hope sends you hugs

Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 7:12:00 AM PDT 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

What a valiant effort by all concerned. And especially you dear Naomi. It is rare to have someone so blessed artistically to be such a great do-er but my goodness what an achievement. Bravo!

Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 8:17:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I love the way you captured the whole process! What a wonderful generous thing for those guys to do, and the commitment they all put into making it look perfect as well.

I can't wait to see the next set of photos!

Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 3:20:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Sounds like a wonderful project Naomi!!! I can't wait to see what happens next!!

How wonderful to have been involved in something so enduring!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 5:01:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a production and coming together of talents. I kept thinking about the prickly cactus and how hard it would be to handle. I love the way the walkway blends into the ground color.

Monday, October 18, 2010 at 6:32:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a wonderful gift! When my dad was at Hospice, I met Lu, the hospice gardener (I wrote about her here: She and her husband created wonderful testaments to life. Cactii are like that for me, too. Thank you for these 2 posts.

Monday, October 18, 2010 at 11:39:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow! Great photos, Naomi! You did an amazing reportage, photo by photo of the beginning of your garden. Looks they had a lot of work indeed! Wonderful results!

Have a nice week ahead, my dear!

Monday, October 18, 2010 at 1:36:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

How generous and kind of you and your crew to take on such a big project and just for the love of plants and people. I think this is very good karma for all of you. It does not look like it was an easy task. The beautiful photos show it all.

Friday, October 22, 2010 at 7:18:00 PM PDT 

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Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
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