Carpentier Parkway, the linear strip along San Elijo Avenue from Chesterfield to Liverpool, is well known to all but perhaps not so well known is Horticulturist Linda Lee, Quality Plantscapes, the person who keeps it eternally beautiful.
At the age of 4 her grandparents took her to the Botanical Gardens in Niagara Falls, Canada and she thought it was the grandest sight she had ever seen. She came from a family of “growers” and her grandparents had tourist gardens. In wintertime they came to California and camped across from Disneyland. They would come home tanned talking about the land of milk, honey and the Magic Kingdom, which sounded better to her than heaven. So it seems from an early age gardening and California were in her blood.
She was in the military and going to school when she visited some friends on Rubenstein and knew that Cardiff-by-the-Sea was where she wanted to be and came here in 1975.
Here she met T.S. Lee, a retired General from World War II, and his wife Joan and started working in their greenhouse on Lake Drive.
They unofficially adopted her and taught her all about plants all the time encouraging her to get an education because there was little profit in the plant business.
She did go to medical school and worked in cardiology, still dreaming about plants.
She went on to get her degree in horticulture and apprenticed with many native healers and herbalists around the globe. She started her business by working in doctor’s yards and running a plant stand in Pacific Beach. Later on she went into landscape care and design and continues to do this today.
Her interest in Carpentier Parkway started in 1997.
At that time it was unsightly and a haven to the homeless.
Plants were not thriving because of poor growing conditions so she used seaweed and Organics Alive (super worm castings) to revitalize the soil. This gave her an opportunity to establish a xyroscaped, all organic, floral gardens through donations from both herself and the community.
The park is under the auspices of Cardiff 101 MainStreet organization with Cardiff Botanical Society, a committee formed by Mike Clark, under its umbrella.
Linda is extremely proud of her accomplishments in the parkway, as well she should be.
It is a one of its kind. It only requires once weekly watering six to eight months out of the year.
It also serves as an example of how beautiful and economical a water wise landscape can be. Because it is so lush many people don’t even know it’s water-wise planting.
There are some memorials worked in with the beautiful flowers and The Friends of the
Cardiff-by-the-Sea Library contributed to the rose garden in 2011, Cardiff’s Centennial year. A pathway of stones bearing signatures of donators leads to the garden.
Linda will be holding a walk through Jan. 27 at 11:30 a.m. at which time she will give information on flowers and plants so plan to join her to see this beautiful creation that is another reason that we are proud to call Cardiff-by-the-Sea home.