Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rosalind Risser Yasui Memorial Garden


It has taken a lot of time and money, but the garden is finished.  I would like to think Roz would be pleased.  Lee and I designed and built the gazebo to sit under and enjoy the view of the orchard.  We have apples (currently being attacked by something the Ag agent is going to find),

 peaches, plums and apricots.  There is a pear that was given to me in lieu of flowers from my library friends after Roz died.  That was the germ of the idea to build this garden.  This year we added blueberries and I hope they will grow big and lush.

There are several things we did to honor Roz and Dad.  I used rocks around the deck because he loved them.  I wrote about that in an earlier blog.  My brother Roland told me about a Hydrangea called a Pinky Winky.  Her nickname from childhood was Pinky...another earlier story... so we planted one of those.  Dad and Roz loved Hawaii, so we planted a Hibiscus.  It may not survive our winters, but I will cover it and hope.


Roz gave me a garden rat when we lived in Laguna Niguel, so I brought it with us when we moved and it is now in her garden.  It will share garden space with the Pinky Winky Hydrangea


I put a fresh coat of glossy black paint on a table and chairs and I intend to sit out and have an adult beverage there soon.

Roz came and stayed with us in Laguna Niguel several times after her diagnosis for about a month each time .  The first time was after her surgery.  Her husband had to work and I wanted her close so I could help her.  She needed help dressing and I wanted to feed her.  I was worried she wouldn't eat if she was home alone and hurting.

The second time was after her treatment.  She wanted to learn to scuba dive and asked me to take the classes with her.  We had snorkeled all over the Pacific, but we were never certified.  So we did that together.  I learned afterwards that it was one of the things on her "bucket list".  I am so glad she asked and so glad I agreed. 

Roz couldn't just sit and vegetate.  I can and tried to teach her that fine art, but I was unsuccessful.  Sometimes she would go out in our garden and putter around. Occasionally I would go out with her, but at times she would just go out when I was doing something else.  She would always have garden gloves and a bandanna.  Her husband Arnold shared her bandannas with my cousin Saja and me and now I take one with me when I garden.

When we first moved to Laguna Niguel, we had a trio of palm trees under which grew a mound of mint.  Now mint is very invasive and I had to keep digging it out of the rest of the garden on a regular basis.  I have since learned that if you don't want it to spread and take over, you need to put it in a pot.  I finally had enough and used Round-Up to kill all the mint.  I spent the next year or so trying various annuals to bloom under the palm trees.. Nothing worked.  I added soil amendments and tried things that liked full shade all the way to full sun.  Dead, dead, dead.

I gave up and took all the failed experiments out and bought a bunch of mint.  If that is all that would grow, I would just deal with the consequences.  I spent an afternoon buying and replacing the mint and it was growing nicely.  Then Roz came for one of her visits.  She had been there when I was fighting the mint on a previous visit.  When I came out to the garden to see what she was doing, she smiled up at me.  She had just spent and hour digging up all the mint I had planted.    She was so happy to have helped me out with my mint problem.  What could I do?  I thanked her and never told her the story.

So I planted mint in Roz's garden.  If it spreads beyond the garden, we will mow it and the smell of freshly mown mint will remind me of Pinky.

I have a few ideas for garden art, which I love, and I will add them as time goes on.  I will get some dragonflies to put on and around the gazebo.  I am thinking of a trellis with wisteria to climb on and dangle through the gazebo top.  I want to add a brass plaque but I need to figure out what I want it to say.  Pinky and Dad's garden?  Paradise in Virginia?  I have no idea.  I am open to suggestions.



  1. It's beautiful! I am really impressed with all your hard work! Roz and Grandpa would have loved to sit out there and enjoy the view.

  2. Amazing! What a beautiful memorial. I can't wait to see it the next time we visit.

  3. Becca, this sure was a lot of work. Thanks for the memories, this made me sad, for a moment, then I smiled at your stories. Looking forward to a Shenandoah Gateway mojito under the arbor