SEAVIEW - "I do all this work because there is a need," Lois Cameron said as she hunkered down next to the flower beds along the Seaview beach approach and pulled weeds. That's no small job since the flower garden she tends is more than 500 feet long and averages about four feet in width between the road and the asphalt walking path.
When Lois retired from being Post Master at Seaview in 1990 she had no idea she would be well known as a gardener. "I plant things and sometimes they grow, but I'm not a gardener." She explained, "When my husband (Chuck) and I walked our dog after I retired we went by all the time and after awhile I decided I'd take care of it."
Lois said the county, state, or Parks Department "plopped down some bushes, plants and a few trees and then put some bark dust around them and left. I felt sorry for the garden so I got things to plant and paid for them out of my own pocket."
She did say the Parks Department lets her get 125 gallons of water each year and the county furnishes her with a watering system that is powered by rechargeable batteries. "I used to bring water in milk jugs once a week and that got to be quite a bit of work." Lois also brings cranberry and grass mulch for the garden. "It is difficult to unload so I use buckets. I must have brought tons of mulch over the years and I also wonder how many times I've crawled the entire 500 feet on my hands and knees."
Lois isn't all work and no joy, however. "I've thoroughly enjoyed meeting all kinds of people. Many of them say they would love to help with the garden, but they always tell me they don't have enough time," she laughs. "Chuck does help with all the pruning and he likes to talk to anyone who comes by," she adds.
The garden has several willows, mango pines and a few cedar trees from the original planting in 1990. There are shrubs, blueberry bushes, forsythias and Lois likes to plant azaleas the best. "I plant things, but they don't always grow so then I plant more things," she said.
She received a grant from the Zahl Foundation and purchased boulders to keep people from driving on the garden. Lois places a small wooden cross in the area when a plant has been stolen. "It is a shame we can't plant more expensive things because they would get taken and then, of course, this is a salad bowl for the deer."
Before she put down the boulders Lois and her family helped get driftwood logs from Waikiki Beach to keep motorists off the garden one Fourth of July. "The next thing you know people were taking the logs we had just set down and using them for their beach fires," she chuckles.
One of the most special stretches of the garden is set aside for memorial plants and trees. A certain type of shrub used to be planted in the area, but smelled like "horse manure" Lois said. "Now there are about nine or 10 things planted in that 40-foot stretch I call the Memorial Garden and I have tags with the people's names on each of them," she said. "Someone left a little angel and it's been moved, but no one has taken it."
Lois used to get up early to do her work in the garden. "I wanted to be anonymous so I got up early so no one would see me." Now she wisely sleeps in a bit and waits for the weather to warm up. "I'm behind on weeding because of all the rain and there's some winter kill I have to take care of," she said.
One of Lois's prize possessions is a painting she received as a gift for her work. "Dr. Campiche gave me a painting that is a still life of some flowers. I guess that fits."
Lois said, "I don't know how much longer I can keep up the work. I could use some help. Maybe someone will be interested in helping and eventually take over. Sometimes I get donations to buy things to plant and that would help, too." Any individual or service group interested in donating time or money can call Lois at 642-2589.
Just ask for the flower lady or stop by the Seaview beach approach almost any nice day. Lois Cameron will be the lady on her hands and knees, working and talking with passers-by as they admire the garden.