Local garden is a land of enchantment

Ann Jaszewski is reflected in a mirror that is part of her home

A light drizzle dampens the ground and calls forth the colors in
Ann Jaszewski’s budding garden, a carpet of blues, purples and
pinks with a towering blue spruce tree hovering over them that
calls to mind the words,

Once upon a time


A light drizzle dampens the ground and calls forth the colors in Ann Jaszewski’s budding garden, a carpet of blues, purples and pinks with a towering blue spruce tree hovering over them that calls to mind the words, “Once upon a time…”

The lot wasn’t always such an enchanting place, just a regular suburban landscape with a green lawn and some hedges. But when Jaszewski’s husband David died in 1980, it became her therapy. With the help of a professional landscaper, she transformed the property, both front and back, into a private sanctuary populated by statues of cherubs, gnomes, fairies and hens.

“I call it a senior puttering yard,” said Jaszewski, who, at 84, still does all of the trimming and pruning herself.

Jaszewski likes to peruse her yard, clipping shears in hand, to find stray twigs and branches that have gone unruly amid the blooming pansies, violas, primrose and status.

By her best recollection, she spends 10 or 12 hours a week out here, trimming plants on commercial breaks and tending to them as she comes and goes from the house that she and David built themselves.

The work keeps Jaszewski busy – there are 54 rose bushes alone. But under the giant silver maple that canopies her back yard, she can take a moment to rest on an enchanting bench created from an old twin-sized headboard and gaze at the garden fairies protecting her well-manicured bonsai collection of maple, juniper and olive.

Across the yard, an ivy trellis floats out from the roof line, cleverly disguising the clothes lines that Jaszewski felt were an eyesore. The same ivy grows in a nearly perfect spiral up one post of her porch overhang, easily moved for painting because it is trained to grow on a rope rather than the post.

“I like experimenting because if it doesn’t turn out, you can just let it grow out and start over,” said Jaszewski, pointing to her latest undertaking in the front yard, the reshaping of several mature juniper plants that a former gardener had planted and shaped into leafy green balls.

Jaszewski is allowing one to grow together and hopes to trim it into a heart shape eventually, matching one of the running themes in her garden. Here she has created hearts of ivy and shrub, and plenty of her garden accents feature the shape, too.

Though the yards look perfect, one thing or another is never quite up to standard for Jaszewski.

A heart could be more symmetrical or a shrub could be more perfectly clipped, but she also enjoys the freedom to walk away from the whole outfit from time to time.

“Getting rid of the lawn was the best thing I ever did,” said Jaszewski. “A lawn is a commitment, and I didn’t want a commitment. Lawns are beautiful, but they need tending every week. Here, I can go away for a while, and it’s one less thing to think about.”

Jaszewski even forgets to consider her time in the garden as work.

“When I go out, I can’t wait to get home to my garden,” she said, pointing to a couple of special touches, like a statue from her daughter who lives in San Diego and a detailed wood carving of a rose that her son spent weeks creating.

But for now, it’s a bit wet for the clippers. Time to duck inside and enjoy the view instead.

If you have a home or garden that you’re proud of, tell us about it. We’re looking for homes and gardens to feature in Great Homes of the South Valley. Call us at (408) 842-9505 or e-mail [email protected] to nominate a home or garden.

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