Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Pasadena garden: saying goodby, saying hello

My beloved mother-in-law, Amy,  is moving today to a retirement community in LaVerne, California. She'll have a great apartment with a front and back door, and outside space for her little dog to romp.

Amy leaves behind decades of gardening in Pasadena. Although the garden I show here is visually quieter than her earlier gardens, she has a history of fearless color decisions in and around her home. Amy's was the first house I ever saw painted terracotta orange, a color that instantly enhanced the deep green foliage surrounding it. 

Bright yellow carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) and Lady Banks climbing rose swarmed all over her wide front porch. I remember gorgeous orange clivias and the fragrance of a neighbor's orange tree that hung over into the back patio of her previous home.

The showpiece of the garden she leaves today is a neighbor's spectacular live oak (Quercus agrifolia) with one enormous branch extending into her back patio. These trees are highly valued in Pasadena, and just this one amazing branch sealed the deal when she bought the house some years ago.

Happy new home, Amy!

I look forward to seeing how your newest garden space takes shape. And I know that your new home, both indoors, and out in the garden, will be a warm and welcoming place I'll love to visit!


  1. What a fantastic garden!! Congratulations Amy on a wonderful achievement!!

  2. Hi Jane~~ Your post is a vivid illustration that in life, change is inevitable. I think it would take some time to adjust to leaving a garden such as your M-I-L's and it makes me think about getting older... and you know what? As Carly Simon sings, THESE are the good ole days!

    Blustery today isn't it? Great day for blogging.

  3. As a mother-in-law, I am heartened by your warmth toward yours...all those terrible jokes be damned.

  4. Hello Jane and Amy, I visited you through my friend Grace Peterson. The posting brought tears to my eyes as I went through this with a beloved Grandma and Mother.

    I KNOW that Amy will make another petite jardin at her new home.

    Keep us posted.

    Sending spring blessings,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  5. What a gorgeous oak. Oh moving away from a garden, I haven't done that yet, but every time the subject of a move comes up, I think how it must be hard to leave behind. But I hope it comes with fun new possibilities for Amy at the new place.

  6. Oh my, that must have been a heavy decision. Leaving a garden you have shaped and tended for any period of time must involve at least some sadness. There are things you can start over with, but an oak of that size and immensity of character... well, you have photographed it so nicely that maybe she will not miss it too badly if she always has your pictures to look back on! Best of luck to her in her new home and garden. I bet it will be fabulous, just smaller scale!

  7. Lovely post about Amy and her oak. She sounds like someone who squeezed every last drop out of her garden.


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