|Jerry on the back porch|
|Bea on the back porch|
|A ledebouria species I think Jerry got from the Huntington ISI program|
|Jerry loved variegated things, such as this Kalanchoe thyrsifolia|
|Impatiens mirabilis, Jerry loved anything with a caudex|
|One of his many perfectly grown specimens, in this case Haworthia truncata|
|Another Haworthia species whose name escapes me|
|Haworthia with almost glass like leaf surfaces|
|One of Jerry's specimen plants, a mammillaria in a show pot|
|Haworthia, probably a form of cymbiformis,|
|Jerry was extremely proud of this Aloe descoingsii, which was grown from the type specimen from which the species was described. I have a single plant he gave me from this incredible specimen.|
|Jerry was into all kinds of plants and here he is with ripe bananas from a plant he had|
|Jerry getting ready to enjoy the fruits of his labor|
|The huge and beautiful koi in Jerry and Bea's pond. He rigged a motion activated water sprinkler to keep the herons away|
|Peony Bartzella, a wonderful plant not far from the back door of their house|
|Closeup of Bartzella|
|"Valley View" the view from the back porch|
Bea and Jerry were two of the most optimistic people I have ever known and I actually confessed to him this past fall when my wife and I last saw him how much I admired his attitude about life. He was, of course, devastated by the recent loss of Bea, whom he had known since they were teenagers. Yet despite this incredible loss and some serious leg pain he soldiered on, and with the able assistance of a young man, Derrick, who helped Jerry care for his gardens and greenhouse plants, he lived as Bea had told him: Life is for the living!
He and Bea were both fortunate to have lived a long life and to have traveled extensively, and they had many friends. They were not the type to sit at home in front of the TV, that was for sure. It seemed they were always attending plant meetings, and recently they were also in a local group led by a rabbi they both admired where they just discussed interesting stuff. He was a true intellectual, and published among other things the only paper I have ever seen on how to pollinate stapeliads, a favorite of his (hint, it isn't easy).
They both were very happy for me when I finally got married and they quite liked my wife as well. On one visit we all went to the local Asian market where they could pick my wife's brains about what was good to get there. I also brought a few other folks periodically to their house and it was pretty much guaranteed to be a great day of course. Good company, good food, good conversations, cool plants, and some awesome long haired friendly cats, what else could one want from life?
I and my wife will miss the wonderful visits to "Valley View" as they called their home, being able to tour the garden in the back with the huge fragrant brugmansias that he overwintered in the garage that adjoined the greenhouse, having to watch "feeding time" for the sheep they raised (and I am allergic to), tasty lunches often involving the aforementioned sheep, tours of the greenhouse and discussions on how he figured out ways to propagate special variegated plants without losing the variegation, and passing plants back and forth. I have a cutting of Brillantaisia subulugurica sitting in front of me right now that he gave me from our last visit. I first brought this species into the US from a South African nursery back in the early 90s and I periodically would lose in winter but Jerry always had a big one in the greenhouse from cuttings I gave him early on. I liked watching my wife get excited when Jerry let her feed the huge koi they have in their pond, and watching her discuss cooking with Bea while Jerry and I would toddle off to the greenhouses to see what neat things were in bloom. Ierry taught me that not all stapeliads smell like dead meat, there are two species that are actually pleasantly fragrant. Jerry was also one of the first to get the amazing intersectional peony "Bartzella" when it came out and a few years ago we happened to visit when it was in perfect bloom. I brought one this year when I came across it at a good price, remembering what we had seen at Valley View.
On our last visit Jerry took out the eulogy he wrote for Bea when she passed and read it to myself and Grace. It was a very touching account of how they first met, he was going on wildflower walks and she asked if she could come along. The rest is history, a love story that was the real thing, and now he walks among the wildflowers with his beloved Bea, together again.
I shall never forget the kindness you and Bea showed me, the lessons I learned from the both of you about what it means to live a well lived life. I will miss you dear friend, until we meet again.