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Backward Glance

March 11, 2012

All photographs: Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times

While doing a search last week for something unrelated in the Times’ archives, I came across these photos taken by staff photographer Irfan Khan. He’d been assigned to shoot the gardens (including ours) on the 2011 Riverside Flower Show and Garden Tour for a Home section online gallery. The gallery went up (see it here) but my garden wasn’t included (as a Times employee )… and, as time passed I forgot the pictures existed. Coming across them now, a year later, I’m reminded of how focused, okay, obsessed, I was with making The Rancho’s garden perfect for the show …


So many details were addressed …



So tidy, so clean …



All lines were straightened …



The mix stirred just so …



Spaces were cleared …



Paths made ready …



Seating areas set aside …



The welcome mat was set out … and the crowds came. Participating in the tour was exhausting and fun. I can’t help but feel nostalgic about the garden in these photos. I worked out in the garden today and that nostalgia got tangled up with other feelings — loss and regret among them. Loss because much of the items shown in these pictures are now gone … sold off to satisfy a need for change. Regret because it was such an accomplishment, creating this garden, and it no longer exists. I have in my head a plan for the garden’s next iteration, but it will not be easy to surpass this first version. Maybe it’s this feeling that’s keeping me from getting started in earnest on the new plan. A contractor will be out today to discuss a new hardscape detail; I’m hoping this, and Springtime, will trigger action on my part …


The garden in these pictures was really kind of perfect … looking back.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2012 5:19 am

    Do it!!! It’s not a matter of comparison between the beauty of the last garden and what might reveal itself next. If you love doing it and the plants love you (which clearly seems to be the case), then no matter what you do, it will turn out just beautifully. that’s my vote! 🙂

    • reubix1 permalink*
      March 11, 2012 5:22 am

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Nisha … I’m hoping to snap out of it soon!

  2. March 11, 2012 5:27 am

    That garden WAS beautiful. No doubt about that. I think whatever you do next will be just as amazing, and I can’t wait to see what you come up with. I think a trampoline would be nice. No? Sleep on it.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      March 11, 2012 5:29 am

      LOL! THAT’S what I need: a touch of humor … ! Thanks for the encouragement, MM

  3. March 11, 2012 7:06 am

    How could you not be overcome with at least a tiny sense of loss looking at those pictures? Gorgeous. As I read about your sales and need for change I remember being struck by your fearlessness in just charging forward. I also know what it’s like to temporarily lose you gardening mojo. Not that you need any advice from me but I say don’t sweat it! It will come back, probably so strongly it will surprise you. You’ got so much talent and creativity…it can’t help but come pouring out eventually. I can’t wait to see what happens when it does.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      March 11, 2012 12:50 pm

      Loree, thanks so much … you obviously understand exactly what I’ve been experiencing in the last 6 months … I appreciate that understanding and accept the encouragement in your comment. During my last visit with Dustin Gimbel I was expressing to him my loss of gardeing “mojo” and he, too, was encouraging. It’s good to have garden chums!

  4. Vickie Perez permalink
    March 12, 2012 4:25 am

    All things change in the ways they are supposed to do. Your mojo has just needed some recharging. So when it is, your yard will let you know what this creation will want to become
    And as was said earlier, your many talents will bring it to life in all it’s glory. Can’t wait to see it.
    We were also wondering if maybe you could give us a call one of these days? Have got a question for you….

    • reubix1 permalink*
      March 12, 2012 4:36 am

      Thanks, Vickie … I think seeing these pictures and posting them, along with the comments, and working in the yard this weekend, have recharged me … more coming soon.

  5. Rita Majkut permalink
    March 12, 2012 11:57 pm

    We bought our house ten years ago & started the gardens very nearly from scratch, so I cannot imagine what it would feel like to be DONE! That said, the plants really do become like your babies. You never know exactly what they grow into or what unexpected combinations will just blow that tiara off your head! I understand feeling a sense of loss – you have heart & gardening takes a lot of hard, hard work. But I hope you start feeling excited about your new adventure soon. Thanks for sharing your garden with the rest of us. It’s so delightful and surprising. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      March 13, 2012 12:38 am

      Rita, thanks for leaving such a heartfelt comment … I’m looking forward to what you call my ‘new adventure’ too


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