Vista, CA …“Things look swell, things look great, We got the whole world on a plate!
Starting here, starting now, Everything’s coming up roses!”
These lyrics from the musical Gypsy paraphrase my story about a great event that took place this past Sunday. The Grand Opening of the Ivy Bodin Reception Rose Garden at the Alta Vista Botanical Gardens (AVBG) was a grand affair.
The warm June sun didn’t deter over 50 special guests from attending the unveiling of this new addition to one of Vista’s most prominent locations. We parked next to the Australian Garden that has been adopted by the Spinks family. As we exited our vehicle, we spotted other visitors with small children entering the Children’s Garden directly across the roadway. They were going to have fun with the Discovery Trail, the Stein Children’s Music Garden, and all the other attractions that are found there.
A slight uphill walk brought us to the Garden’s main and only building. The new gift shop was open and being staffed by volunteer Joy Walsh. Being early for the Grand Opening and always curious, we poked around and found the shop to have several items we are interested in buying once we are settled in our new home.
Leaving the gift shop we entered the main building and we were immediately in a beehive of very organized activity. A volunteer team was putting out food, china, crystal, and silver settings in anticipation of the crowd that would shortly arrive. Volunteer and Garden Board member, Mary Murphy, was polishing the silver. (I need to invite her to our next party). Led by Naomi Stein, we saw Carol Lee, Gail Strom, Michelle Petitte, Bill Stein, and Becky Yianilos (a noted Rosarian) hard at work.
A Rosarian is an expert in the cultivation and propagation of roses. It should be noted that Becky Yianilos and her co-advisor James Waldman were responsible for selecting the 85 and still counting roses in this new garden at AVBG. They also contributed and assembled the gorgeous rose arrangements that were used as centerpieces for this afternoon tea party.
The hot June day was eased by gentle ocean born breezes and even though it had been trimmed not very long ago, the massive Tipuana Tipu tree was casting a wide expanse of shade across the Reception Garden. Guests arrived promptly at 3 pm and the bright colored tables on the new artificial turf were soon filled past capacity. Yes, artificial turf in the Botanical Garden. What’s that? AVBG President Ron Holloway explained that the decision was a tough one. The garden experts had tried everything to grow natural grass in the reception area. Nothing they did to promote grass ever succeeded. Considering how much water a natural grass lawn requires I would speculate that the roses will benefit and it really looks spectacular.
Refreshments were available without delay. The tricky part was carrying your plate of food down the stairs into the Reception Garden. AVBG President Ron Holloway needed help because he was sporting a leg cart for his broken limb. The tea service was outside at the ground level entrance. The salmon Pâté was the best but every bite of the delightful cuisine that the committee put out was delicious.
Ok the food was great but that’s not my story. If you’re your still reading along, here goes… Today the Alta Vista Botanical Gardens proudly held a grand opening of the Ivy Bodin Reception Garden. It’s an English Rose Garden full of Heritage Roses from the Bodin garden and many others. It includes a walkway honoring the many Vistans and Vista businesses that have contributed to the AVBG.
A plaque was unveiled by Mr. Bodin’s neice, Honda McFadden who was accompanied by her son Chris. She told the attendees that her Uncle was “all about sharing beauty.” Ron Holloway praised Ivy Bodin telling us that Bodin was an Ambassador for AVBG. It was also stated that Bodin was a true “Gentleman” and he knew how to pick and hold roses so they would open their blossoms at the right time. He was a Master Rosarian and in the audience were 4 other rosarians.
Bodin worked with many of the docents at AVBG and he personally recruited Nancy B. Jones (aka Farmer Jones). Jones has established the much loved “Kids in the Garden Program”. A lover of culture and Heritage roses were said to be his passions. It was his generous bequeath that provided the funding for this new garden.
Next to the new plaque is a heritage rose that Ivy Bodin developed. It’s a “”Pink Rancho Minerva” and the blossom looks like a starburst. Most of the new roses were in beds surrounding the lawn area and the donor walkway. The small rose shrubs were all covered in wire mesh to protect them from predators that munch on tender young plants.
Imelda Huerta, the Recreation and Community Services Management Analyst for the City of Vista, was in attendance with her children. Norm Halas, a member of everything good in Vista and donor to AVG was looking dapper for a sunny afternoon. Former City of Vista Manager Rita Geldert was another supporter who attended this gala affair.
Alta Vista Botanical Gardens is located at 1270 Vale Terrace Drive in Vista, at the top of the hill inside Brengle Terrace Park.