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Ivy Bodin, an avid supporter of the Alta Vista Botanical Gardens shown here at a city festival, passed away in April 2017 at age 77. Photo by Nancy B. Jones
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Alta Vista Botanical Gardens addition honors longtime contributor

The Alta Vista Botanical Gardens is a place where its members and volunteers work hard to create an environment where nature inspires visitors of all ages. The newest site at this 14-acre location is the Heritage Rose Garden, which pays tribute to the late Ivy Bodin, who was a longtime member, board member and volunteer at the gardens.

“Ivy was a rosarian, and he also was a lover of culture and music. He collected quilts and art — he was just an amazing man,” said Nancy B. Jones, director of the Children’s Program at the gardens. 

Bodin passed away in April 2017 and left some bequests, including to the Alta Vista Botanical Gardens. Jones said that gardens used a portion of it to renovate a backyard area to be named the Heritage Rose Garden. 

Nancy B. Jones, director of the Children’s Program at
Alta Vista, works in th new Heritage Rose Garden, a tribute to Ivy Bodin. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene

The area will also be used as a venue for weddings and special events.

Landscape architects Naomi and Bill Stein, who are also members of the gardens’ board, designed the Heritage Rose Garden. The couple has also created other features such as the music garden and children’s garden at the same locale.

Naomi Stein heads up the Design Committee and holds a certificate from MiraCosta College in Landscape Design and Engineering. She had a career as a licensed landscape contractor for 33 years as well as owned and operated a company with her husband for more than 30 years. 

Stein said she knew Bodin through the gardens and described him as extremely supportive with her endeavors there.

“Ivy always donated garden art for our fundraisers, supplied me with plant ID markers and gave me encouragement to do what I thought was right with regards to plantings and design,” Stein said. “Ivy was a very warm and genuine person.”

Stein said Bodin loved giving her tips on rose care and placement.

“When we put in the medicinal herb garden, he donated two apothecary roses which were rare and difficult to find,” Stein said. “It brings me much happiness to have designed this beautiful rose reception garden to honor Ivy Bodin.”

Stein was also quick to point out how she was assisted by Bodin’s friends, Becky Yianilos and James Waldmin, who were instrumental in locating, obtaining and identifying their new collection of 85 Heritage roses.

“The idea of heritage roses is that they are not the same tea roses that you can buy at Lowes or Home Depot. They are roses that have been culled, propagated and are older roses,” Jones said. 

An archway was also installed where climbing roses will grow. Beneath the arch are pavers recognizing community and business donors. Some supporters include the late Gloria McClellan, Vista Lions Club and the Women’s Club of Vista. The pavers were always there but were out of sight. Stein moved them to a more visible area.   

The Heritage Rose Garden took less than a couple of months to construct and create.

A private dedication of the Rose Heritage Garden took place on June 10 for Bodin’s close family and friends. While it was a celebration of a new feature, it was also a time of remembering Bodin.

Jones described Bodin as a gentle man and a gentleman. When she’s in the Heritage Rose Garden, memories of Bodin come to mind.

“I can’t help but think of Ivy’s gentleness and his smile — we so miss having Ivy with us,” Jones said. “But in this garden, when I think of him, I cannot help but smile. He left such loveliness behind for us and for the generations to come.”