HIDDEN GARDENS OF MT. HELIX: ALL ABOARD! MODEL RAILROAD PROVIDES FOCAL POINT AT COLLECTOR’S HOME

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Part 3 in a 5-part series on gardens featured in the 2010 Grossmont-Mt. Helix Association garden tour.

August 27, 2010 (Mt. Helix) -- Dick and Cynthia Jackson have made the most of seemingly every inch in the front and back yards of their modest-sized home on Bonnie Vista. A courtyard of bricks set in sand welcomes guests to this charming garden, where classic boxwood hedges define a patriotic garden of red, white and blue blooms including hollyhocks, roses, silver sheen and razzleberry.

The home’s front yard also includes a fountain and vegetable garden complete with tomatoes, lettuce and melons.
 

In back, a pergola shades a patio area overlooking a pool and outdoor fireplace. Dick Jackson designed the structure complete with sturdy support columns of stacked chimney flue tiles reinforced with rebar and finished with stucco, all overlooking views south to the Coronado islands.
 

“I’ve always had hobbies. When I was a kid, my Dad always had a railroad room,” said Dick Jackson, who created his own outdoor railway display. A battery-operated G-gauge model railroad winds through a village of miniature buildings and tiny topiary trees of pomegranate and rosemary.

Cynthia Jackson designed an Oriental “rug” made of bricks beneath a vine-covered pergola. The yard also features a clever rain-harvesting system to capture 110 gallons of rainwater diverted from roof gutters; the gravity-fed tanks can reach capacity in just one hour of rainfall. In addition, the property includes a potting area with earthwork farm.


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