Times photo by Mark Boster
Recently laid-off Los Angeles Times reporter Janet Eastman wrote a beautiful obituary today on Hortense Miller, 99 of Laguna Beach, who created one of Southern California's most enchanting gardens. Here's how the obit starts:
Hortense Miller, a feisty environmentalist and author who created one of the best private gardens in the country and whose knowledge of plants was sought by leading horticulturists, has died. She was 99.
Miller died Monday of natural causes at an assisted-living facility in Mission Viejo, said her friend Marsha Bode.
Fiercely protective of her 2 1/2 -acre property in Laguna Beach's rugged Boat Canyon, off Coast Highway and about a five-minute drive from Main Beach, Miller gave the land to the city in 1976. She wanted the public to continue to see it the way she liked it, as a wild mix of native coastal scrub, tropical succulents, blooming perennials and exotics such as towering puya stalks from Chile.
"Age hasn't done a thing for me," she once said of the land she nurtured for five decades. "But it's done wonders for the garden. It gets better all the time."