Sunday, April 22, 2007

I've not yet started to garden this year, though I'm getting the hankering.

My Mom was a great gardener, Libby McGeary, who owned a nursury Mint Hill Gardens on Roanoke Ave. in the West Hills in the 80's and 90's. Some of you may even know about her; she was known as the 'herb lady,' but what she really accomplished was learning how to garden in Central Oregon. She taught many a gardener how to harden plants, to grow perennials, and near the end of her life, grow native plants.

I always think of her in the spring, because I know she would've loved the more or less blank slate I've been given in my back yard; a third of an acre lot, half wild with Juniper and lava rock, the other half soon to be a yard and garden.

Alas, while I've inherited the urge, I haven't quite inherited the work eithic. I remember her gardening from sunrise to sundown. Propogating plants in the downstairs, bottling herb vinegar, and driving to the valley once a week to pick up plants. As I grew up, our large lawn became an English garden, with a micro climate. I'd walk down the steps on a hot summer day, and the temperature would drop 10 degrees and moisture would fill the air, and you felt as though you'd entered an impressionistic painting.

It was her passion, and she had a talent, and most importantly, she shared with other gardeners. There are gardeners all through Bend who have 'Libby' plants in their garden. I'm hoping to create a garden she would've been proud of.

5 comments:

Live on the Fly Studio said...

I didn't realize Libby was your mother! Back in the day - late 80s into the late 90s - I would run into her here and there, out and about. My good friend Marcia always had amazing gardens and worked very closely with the Master Gardeners. She considered Libby one of her mentors! I heard many stories about those famed gardens...

Duncan McGeary said...

Thank you, I knew someone here would remember. I don't want to brag too much about her. But I think she really was the godmother of Central Oregon gardeners.

I have a Time-Life book on gardening that has a picture of her garden on the back cover. But really, you wouldn't have believed such a garden could exist in Bend, Oregon.

Thing was, she was very generous with her time and knowledge...and her plants.

Duncan McGeary said...

Oh, and the garden down at the Rademacher house, which houses the Mirror Pond Gallery, was named 'Libby's Garden' in her honor. Don't know if the sign is still there...

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Speaking of this being a small town, I think my sister-in-law was commissioned to paint your mother's garden a few years ago. Could that be? Tracy Leagjeld.

Duncan McGeary said...

There's a wonderful painting in my sister's house, so yeah, probably so.