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Alpine Resident Jim Tewksbury’s Property Featured in San Diego Home & Garden Magazine – March 2019

*Shared from San Diego Home & Garden Magazine

A Garden’s Motif Motive

From Balboa Park to the Wild West, one gardener treasures themes in a motif landscape

Almost every day, from dawn until what Jim Tewksbury calls “beer-thirty,” he works around his Alpine garden. Now and then, when curious passersby stop to admire the front yard’s majestic Engelmann oak or its two antique farm wagons, he’ll pause to invite them on a “nickel tour” of the grounds.

“First we walk through ‘Balboa Park,’” Jim says, pointing to the Koi pond and manicured lawn shaded by towering trees and rimmed with boulder-studded slopes, dry streambeds and tumbling waterfalls. “Then,” he says with a smile, “we go to ‘Old Town.’”

Gasps generally greet this turn into the backyard where what could be a John Wayne movie set comes into view. A rustic Western town—from jail to general store, gussied up with weathered wood and Old West memorabilia—frames an edibles garden where an antique windmill whirs in the breeze.

“Most people like to carry a single theme through their landscape,” the retired civil servant says. “I like more. It’s like having many yards in one.” And his sprawling landscape definitely has split personalities. 

Last July Jim welcomed an unlikely group of garden visitors—sheriffs and firefighters battling the West Fire raging just two blocks away. “One day 15 were in the backyard eating lunch, enjoying the shade,” he says. “They did a phenomenal job keeping Alpine from burning to the ground.”

The property’s inspired makeover got underway three years ago after Jim and his wife Marlene, a business manager, purchased a 1970s-era ranch home angled to overlook an acre dotted with two dozen mature trees. The couple relishes back-country living; but after 12 years, Santa Ana winds that lashed their mountain-top Descanso home finally drove them to move a bit westward. “We like Alpine’s small-town atmosphere, the peace and quiet,” Jim says of their new community at the edge of the Cuyamaca Mountains.

Previous owners dug a well and added the home’s rear flagstone patios and pond, but the lawn was riddled with crabgrass and circled with bare or overgrown slopes. Closer to the home thousands of bulbs crowded beds, leaving behind mounds of brown foliage after their short-lived flowers faded—a look Jim disliked. In the backyard a few fruit trees struggled and a lone storage shed stood on bare dirt…. see more photos and finish reading article here

7 comments to Alpine Resident Jim Tewksbury’s Property Featured in San Diego Home & Garden Magazine – March 2019

  • Hi Denis! Tom Neal as in Neal Electric? if so then no, his house is in the Palo Verde Ranch – GORGEOUS THOUGH! Jim’s house is RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO MINE 😉

  • Marilyn – he was on the garden home tour in Alpine last year and I am sure he will probably do it again if they ask him!

  • Jim Lundquist

    Jim’s a great guy with a great eye for western towns. Good job Jim. Thanks for sharing your yard with neighbors.

  • Gail Rettig

    Being a old horse owner & lover of western things, I can really appreciate what a beautiful place you’ve make. Very beautiful.

  • Gail Rettig

    Oh my golly what a fantastic place. Being a old horse owner & lover of western things, I can really appreciate what a beautiful place you’ve make.

  • Marilyn Fox

    Will this garden ever be open to the public for a garden tour? I would love to see it.

  • Dennis Larsen

    Angie, was this property formerly Tom Neal’s?

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