A master gardener, George Patton helped transform a plot of grass into a habitat that today blooms with life. You may have seen him there, in Throop Garden, where he spends his days caring for the earth.
By Susan Campisi
George manifests the beauty of nature the way a professional chef creates an exquisite meal—with the utmost reverence for the ingredients. He has an artistic eye in the garden and beyond. Traveling around town by bicycle and bus, he captures photos on his journey that he texts to friends along with poetic commentary:
“The Rose Petal mulch and the baby Marigold.”
“Life in the camellia forest.”
“Young man sitting on his skateboard, thus avoiding wet butt.”
George Patton is both artist and scientist. So knowledgeable is he with the process of waste breaking down into rich soil, he’s known in some circles as the “compost guy.” He has a brilliant mind that digs deep into important matters. Last month he wrote The Bug Report—not the status of issues in a software development cycle, but the state of insect populations amidst alarming decline in their numbers.
Throop Garden surrounds the church at the corner of Del Mar and Los Robles, in Pasadena. I met George there, in the garden (before social distancing was a thing), and he gave me a tour.
He plucked a few leaves of Thai basil and handed them to me. I breathed in the scent, redolent of a piping hot dish of Thai eggplant. Bees hovered around the purple stalks of the massive lavender plant, the biggest one in California, George surmised. He pointed out the Pineapple Guava tree, where birds sang out from the thick canopy. A hummingbird perched on a wire stretched above the treetop.
Surrounded by so much beauty, a feast for the senses, I felt overcome by emotion and gushed my appreciation. “You’ve created a paradise here, George.”
“I only helped nature do what she does naturally,” he humbly replied, but he was pleased I’d recognized the garden’s gifts. Then he added, “it makes me elated and depressed to hear that.”
“I can’t be the only one nurturing the earth in this way. Nature needs our help. People all over the world need to step up and create a paradise in their own backyards if we want to heal our fragile planet.”
Words to live by.
George’s close-ups in the garden—a bee in mid-flight, its tiny legs dangling a moment before it lands on a peach blossom; a monarch caterpillar hugging a milkweed leaf; an orange butterfly atop a Mexican sunflower—lift my spirits, making it seem like everything is right in the world. All is in balance. Nature shows the way.
You can follow George on Instagram: @dragonflyman8.
Editor’s note to Chrome users:
COVID-19 has affected everyone, including Google operations. Chrome has stopped refreshing automatically since the Shelter in Place order has been enacted all over the world. If you’re using Chrome, you have to refresh our pages manually (including the front page) in order to view the most updated articles.
We hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, please consider supporting the Colorado Boulevard’s journalism.
Billionaires, hedge fund owners and local imposters have a powerful hold on the information that reaches the public. Colorado Boulevard stands to serve the public interest – not profit motives.
While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and climate crisis while supporting reproductive rights and social justice. We provide a fresh perspective on local politics – one so often missing from so-called ‘local’ journalism.
You can access Colorado Boulevard’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. People like you, informed readers, keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence, and accessible to everyone.
Please consider supporting Colorado Boulevard today. Thank you. (Click to Support)