Hi. I’m Walking Bob and I was walking through John Barovetto Park headed in the direction of Target, although that wasn’t where I was going. My target was actually a little partial street across Second Street that some people call “George’s Garden.”
Several people have suggested that “the guy who used to have that garden with brightly painted pots on 2nd Street near PG&E” is someone they thought Walking Bob should interview. When I got to George’s new location across from Target, however, there were a few baby palm trees, some potted plants and an American flag, but there was no sign of George.
Deciding that I’d have to wait for another day, I walked downtown, took some photos in the UCD Arboretum, and then headed back home. As I was walking on the sidewalk over the Pole Line overpass I looked down and saw George walking his bike up the overpass headed back toward Fifth Street. He wasn’t moving too fast, so it didn’t take long to catch him.
I introduced myself and mentioned that I’d seen him around town for a long time without ever taking the time to talk with him. Without hesitation he stopped his bike, and we began talking. I told him that I knew he had places to go and said we could just walk and talk, which we began to do. I learned that George is seventy-six years old and has been in Davis since 1984. He likes to give back to his community and believes that his gardens have done that.
I asked him why he wasn’t at the 2nd Street corner near the railroad tracks as he had been for so long. He said that a gentleman from P.G. & E. had “discouraged me from staying there” because of George’s use of their water for his plants. His new location doesn’t have a water faucet nearby, so for a long time George had to walk a couple of blocks to get water and then transport it back to his garden.
George said he would truly love it if people would donate about two blocks worth of garden hose so he wouldn’t have to carry the water so far. I came back about a week later with 50 feet of hose, and learned that George has a lot of friends, including Bob Dunning, who spread the word so people came through to give George enough hose to get from the faucet to his plants. I counted seventeen sections of hose of various colors and lengths strung together.
George has glaucoma and is legally blind, which may explain why he likes the bright colors. However, he still gets around town on his bike and enjoys talking with people he meets. I recently saw him giving a young man an earful about why he should be focusing on school instead of on partying. The young man told me he was impressed with the way George lived on his own outside. When I asked George where he sleeps at night, he simply said he has always liked camping.
The next time you see George caring for his garden on Second Street, sitting outside of the South Davis Rite-Aid or walking his blue bike downtown, say hello and let him know you appreciate his efforts to beautify Davis. Then think about what you are doing, or could do, to brighten up the place. If George can do it with his meager resources, think what you could do.