Gilroy Today 2008 01 Winter - Page 7

Gilroy’s Own “Islands of Beauty” S ome people take on big projects: Al Gore, Global Worming; Condoleezza Rice, Peace in the Middle East; Charlie Wilson, Communism; Mayor Al Pinheiro, Downtown Gilroy; and Maria Scocylas, the Homeless of Gilroy. Others approach causes on a much smaller scale and/or closer to home. Brenda Cherani and Betty Lepper have carved out a small garden that they have named “Islands of Beauty.” Traveling west on Sixth at Eigleberry, you will notice a small triangular garden on the corner. A closer inspection reveals a flowering garden with a few rocks strategically positioned. A large rock in the center of the garden hosts a simple plaque “Islands of Beauty.” Some have wondered if this is an official City mini-park or an eccentric flower-loving property owner. No! It’s the brainchild of Betty, the “idea lady” and Brenda, the “let’s do it lady.” With permission from the property owner and without any public funding, these two have created the “Islands of Beauty.” Betty remembers a time around Taft, in Central California, when oil drillers and their families converged on the area to build rigs to suck black gold out of the earth. There were lots of temporary houses where many had an “Island of Beauty.” Sometimes it was a delicate lace curtain in a drab window; other times it was a beautiful painted door; occasionally it was a small flower garden in front of a weathered temporary house. These images became the inspiration for the Sixth and Eigleberry “Islands of Beauty.” In the fall of 2006 Brenda and Betty started the little garden. Without any experience in garden design they have created a beautiful little country garden. They have had some interesting help. Once, early in the project, two very clean and proper missionaries in white shirts offered to help the two very grimy ladies dig up old weeds and junk. Betty and Brenda declined that time. One day an unknown lady delivered an Orchard Supply gift card to help purchase supplies. One gentleman dropped off a miniature rose that continues to flourish; another left a gorgeous primrose. Two uniformed soldiers from the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars Hall across the street declared “Good job, Maam.” Another day two Hispanic young men stopped to admire the garden when one of them announced enthusiastically, “This is so beautiful. I would marry this garden if I could!” As these two inexperienced gardeners have cared for this plot, they have learned a few lessons on landscaping and gardening. Some plants go together; others do not. Every now and then you get a major surprise like the time the marigolds grew to over six feet! Brenda and Betty are shy people who did not take this project to make news. They did it because it was a good thing and to encourage others to create “Islands of Beauty.” Brenda also tends to the flowers in front of The Nimble Thimble and Gilroy Antiques, both in Downtown Gilroy. Both ladies encourage others to create or adopt their own “Islands of Beauty.” For more information contact Betty at 842-5291, Brenda at 842-6208. Following a winter rain, Brenda Cherani and Betty Lepper plan for the spring. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2008 GILROY TODAY 7