Flashback: Long Beach Peninsula 2012
I frequently say that my favorite gardens I am privileged to tour are those created by the homeowners.
The soul of a place comes from the gardener’s creative spirit unleashed on a canvas of land. Rarely does a garden on a tour touch my heartstrings, but this one tells a love story about a man who shares his heart through his wife’s garden.
After his wife passed away recently, Gene Miles wanted to put her garden on the Long Beach Peninsula’s Music in the Garden Tour as a tribute to her and her love of gardening. He doesn’t claim to be much of a gardener himself, but he took on this labor of love to memorialize his wife. It made the tour an exceptional experience. (See bottom photo for more of their story in his own words.)
Gene elicited the help of Tangly Cottage Gardening’s Skyler Walker and Alan Fritz to get his property ready for the tour. The pair helped expand the garden by adding a strip of flora along the street; however, most of this garden was Peggy’s doing. Gene even added his creative touches, including a tiny drainage garden (seen in a photo below) and adding marigolds throughout the space. Although this tour comes from the heartbreak of losing a loved one, it is one of the most inspiring garden stories. I was glad I traveled to the Long Beach Peninsula to be there!
Peggy’s courtyard garden behind their home was intimate and cozy, and I imagined they spent many evenings enjoying the salty sea air protected from the prevailing coastal winds.
This planting of hardy Geraniums in a wooden case for wines is a tribute to both Gene and Peggy, who often enjoyed fine wine together.
Gene and Basket Case Nursery created the following three containers (many of the beautiful hanging baskets you see around the Long Beach Peninsula come from Basket Case Nursery). Gene did a great job of filling up his wife’s containers with beautiful combinations of plants.
Overflowing with Violas.
Visitors walked through the garden first thing in the morning while Gene, mug in hand, greeted the arriving guests.
The annual Salvia viridis filled the new street-side bed with purple, pink, and white bracts, which cozied up with cosmos, lavenders and other flamboyant plantings.
The front garden is made electric by Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’.
This tiny sunken garden made me smile. What do you do with a drainage pipe surrounded by pavement? Gene turned this eyesore into a lovely little garden. Perfect! What made me grin, along with a slight excess of liquid welling up in my eyes, is knowing he once schemed to avoid all garden labor, and now he creates beautiful gardens in his wife’s memory.
Special thanks to Skyler Walker for allowing me to use her photo of Peggy and the story.