Bobbye West-Thompson has collected “old stuff” all her life. And she has always been artistic, but didn’t claim that title until she found time to paint after retiring 10 years ago. Her whimsical garden demonstrates what can happen when an artist combines plants with rusted metal and uncommon containers, including a sausage press and wood-and-wire milk carriers.
When Bobbye and her husband, Kim, retired and moved to Los Osos, they settled on a less-than-ideal house with good potential. They took five years to completely remodel the house before considering the garden. Both front and back yards were simply lawns with a few trees and shrubs around the perimeter, plus a raised bed with orange trees in back. Five years ago, Bobbye finally began unpacking and arranging the garden accessories that they had moved, including two mosaic plaques she had created for their previous house. One spells “Thompson,” and hangs near the front door; their former house number, “SIX,” is in the backyard.
An incurable collector, she continues to discover treasures in other peoples’ discards.
As one example, the tall wooden fence that encloses the Thompson’s backyard appears to have windows into the neighboring yard. A closer look reveals that the “windows” are mirrors, simply reflecting their own garden.
During the AAUW Garden Tour, some of Bobbye’s current paintings will be displayed on a side fence, and available for purchase. Greeting cards with reproductions of her paintings will be available in the enclosed back porch. A portion of sale proceeds that day will be donated to the AAUW Scholarship Fund.
Brenda and Jules Hock’s garden, also in Los Osos, has a different ambiance from the Thompson’s, though both display art. The Hocks’ whimsical collection of artworks is arrayed at their front entrance. Many were received as humorous gifts.
The one-acre property they’ve owned since 2006 is at the dead end of a street, adjacent to undeveloped land. Many native plants remain in the front yard, including manzanita and mature live oak trees. Linaria has naturalized there, evoking a meadow. But this isn’t a native plant garden. Succulents, proteas, iris, and roses thrive in sunny spaces.
The backyard outdoor living area is fenced to exclude deer. Previous owners had terraced the slope there to create a level lawn. Brenda has filled the wood-edged borders with fruit trees, roses and rosemary. Planting beds for herbs and vegetables are located three steps below, in a less conspicuous location.
Although she’s planted much of her garden, Brenda declares she’s not a garden expert. She hopes that someone touring their garden can help her identify two trees with tulip-shaped leaves growing near their front door.