Garden Limericks: Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I’m not Irish, but my once bright red hair might give you pause.  I’m not a fan of beer, either, green or otherwise.   I do love the excuse to wear green, however, and the chance to write green limericks.

Here are two from last year:

Snail on a Tulip MagnoliaAs a gardener I find much to love,
even weeds at the end of my glove.
I once kept a log,
then I learned how to blog,
hence combining two hobbies thereof.


Leprechaun Path Fairy Garden

Fairy Garden


In my garden I learned how to sow,
tiny seeds laid all in a row.
Then I wait for the pests,
snails and rats never rest,
hoping one day something might grow.

Birthday Wishes

When I was fresh out of college, I had the luck of the Irish, the chance to work for a fledgling (now thriving) theater in San Jose, founded by full-blooded Irishman James (Jim) Reber.  How Irish is Jim?  He was born on St. Patrick’s day!

Today, Jim is Executive Director of San Jose Parks Foundation.  He’s raising green for green. Here is Jim’s story:

I am using my birthday as an excuse to raise funds to keep San Jose’s Parks green, beautiful and safe and accessible to everyone. Help me celebrate a birthday, the arrival of Spring and San Jose’s Parks Foundation’s Neighborhood Empowerment Program. The foundation works with neighborhood groups to help residents keep their parks in great condition. $50, $100 or whatever you can afford will help keep our city parks green and healthy.

There was a young man named James Reber,
He started a repertory theater,
Then parks caught his eye;
He’s such a great guy,
Happy birthday, it’s time for green beer-beer!

Gardens of San Jose Tour

What a day!  I toured three private gardens in the historic Rose Garden Neighborhood with a long-time friend along for the journey.  We picked up our tour map in the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, run entirely by volunteers.  From there we walked the route to each home.

The first garden, and the most unusual was a Xeriscape, a New Mexico arroyo-styled theme garden.  There was so much to take in.  The center of the garden houses a yoga room, surrounded by native plantings, dry river beds, a vertical vegetable garden and walkways.  The home owner keeps bees on the property in a hive resembling a tall bird house.  The hive sits behind trellised berry vines, and receives a regular visitor: a neighborhood blue jay.  The bees “clean house” each day, tossing out the dead bees and the jay stops by in the morning to eat them.


As an organizer, I was intrigued by the efficient use of space throughout the property.  Baskets, crates, wire shelves and hooks lined the entire back side of the garage.  The narrow space served as storage, with a beautiful Jade and Fuchsia intermingled with the tools.

The mid-day sun wasn’t optimum for good photos.  That said, the collage below captures the flavor of this incredible garden.

Xeriscape Garden

Next on the tour was a spacious 1923 home with a California Woodland garden.  The first thing you see is an 80-year-old Redwood tree with an equally magnificent Spruce dominating the side garden.  The paths open up to a wide expanse of lawn, with “woodland plants such as ferns, lichens wildflowers and grasses” nearby.

A few highlights below:

Woodland Garden

The House of 53 Roses was the final home on the tour.  While I appreciate roses, they don’t grab my attention the way other flowers do.  The show-stopper for me was the charming cat in residence, a mellow fellow named Curtis.  He let me scratch his chin as he rested in the cool grass and seemed indifferent to me and my camera.  Look at that face!

53 Roses and 1 Charming Cat

We capped our day with garden salads and the comfortable conversation of old friends on the outdoor patio at Aqui in Willow Glen.  Garden nirvana indeed.

Old Friends

Proceeds from today’s tour benefit San Jose Parks Foundation, a membership-based, non-profit organization that:

  • Empowers neighborhood and community groups;
  • Helps to recruit, train and retain park and trail volunteers;
  • Works in partnership with the City and others to maximize access and use of San Jose’s parks for families and youth; and
  • Advocates for our parks and trails on behalf of the community.