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Jimmy Joe’s Garden
Jeff Barnouw | Amphitheatre Drive

Jimmy Joe Gooding in center collecting compliments.
Photo courtesy Jimmy Joe Gooding.
Click to enlarge.

Jimmy Joe Gooding was born in Del Mar in 1958 into a family, as he puts it, “with roots here from the early 1940s.” Fellow members of the Del Mar Historical Society marvel at the things he has collected, mentally and physically, from our City’s past. His fanciful displays at recent DMHS booths and tables (DMF Picnic, Breeders Cup ‘Barn’) have delighted all who saw them. And now Channel 8 has come to town to do a KFMB-CBS News feature, in the Zevely Zone, on Jimmy Joe. It aired January 18. What’s it all about?

For 10 years Jimmy Joe walked his beloved dog Gwen (named for Gwen Stefani, lead singer of the group No Doubt) on Dog Beach. When Gwen (the dog) died last year, he planted a garden for her at Dog Beach, a garden now mostly of succulents and native plants (with gnomes) that grew and grew. As he himself wrote, perhaps quoting reporter Jeff Zevely, “finally with permission from the City and Adopt-a-Spot approval. The Garden Project is just a day at the beach for the man with a green thumb and a big heart.” He says the Garden “has people giving praise to his nickname ‘Mayor of Dog Beach’.”

He tends his garden two hours a day, collecting compliments from beach walkers. The only complaint he’s heard was from a woman who thought the beach “no place for gnomes.” But another resident I spoke with thinks the gnomes and other non-plant material would be more suitable for a private garden than a public space. Jimmy Joe now has a new lab named Blondie and a website. In the permitting process he learned that a majority of native plants would be required, and he spent $900 of his own money to buy some. His Go-Fund-Me site called “Save the Garden at Dog Beach” shows that he has almost reached his goal of $3500. As of Jan. 23 the fund for native plants stood at $3376. Some donations come with testimonials expressing how much people enjoy the garden and his conversation.



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