The Velvet Touch


The revival of the Ocean View Garden Club has given me something fun to look forward to on the fourth Saturday of every month. Every second meeting is held at someone’s home. In August, we visited the home and delightful garden space of Carole and Heather Baker.

Our October tour took us to a bit of paradise I get to visit every month for a massage. Velvet Replogle, a Licensed Massage Therapist, advertises herself as “Velvet Touch Massage.” After you see her garden, you’ll know that her “touch” affects more than just a human body.

The opening photo for this blog gives you an idea of the serenity you feel as you enter their beautiful space. Velvet and her husband, John, have done miracles with the rocky landscape.

They have been living on the property for five years. Even though they did plant some of the trees before that, you can see that it has become a spot of beauty in just a few years. It gives me incredible hope that my acre of lava rock will eventually be a place of beauty.

In this post, I will make only a few comments, because you will get more of a sense of what Velvet and John have done to their acre if I simply show you the pictures. I do want to remind you that they have been in several past posts. One was about the vermiculture and their compost setup was included in my post on that topic.

After seeing what they did by not having a bulldozer come in and level off the property, I’m sorry that my own acre had been ‘dozed so that a house could be built on it. The house had already been built when I bought my property, however.

In the next few photos, you can see how John has created paths and steps that wander around the gullies and trees. I get the feeling that I’ve been wandering for miles as I walk up and down, around corners, over hill and vale. It reminds me of how the gardens in Japan would give me the sense of them being acres and acres, when it was only a few yards.

Here are a few shots of their home. The steps and path seem to be a natural part of the terrain.

A close up of their window.

As their paths wander around, there are glimpses of color and little delights tucked here and there.

And an occasional angel, of course!

John works for the Nature Conservancy and can tell you all about the native Hawai`ian plants. Here is one near their house. (My face is red! I was just informed that it is a mysore black raspberry, and not a native. I was too busy taking pictures to really listen to him. But he did show us a native somewhere near this – honest!)

Of course, the rose is not a native, but this one had to give us a sneak peak of her profile.

Velvet has a strong need to provide color and beauty in her surroundings, while I seem to be focused more on planting seeds and cuttings that can produce food. She has inspired me to put a bit more effort into nurturing myself with flowers. Here are a few more shots of her flowers.

Here is a plant that you probably won’t find in too many mainland gardens. This is a small one, but the blooms can get quite large. They also come in several different colors, but the red is probably the most common. There is a funny story about my brother and the anthurium plant. I’ll let him tell you the story if you want to ask him.

These begonias don’t even look real, but they are!

The daylily is one of my favorites. I may try to find as many different colors as I can for my own garden.

Nasturtiums are beautiful, and add flavor and color to a salad. In parts of California it is considered a weed almost. But I love them, and plan to put out a bunch of seeds.

Here are a few more scattered bits of color.

Serenity abides everywhere in this garden, even with the work gloves resting on a nearby rock.

Another beauty that is almost a weed in parts of California is one of my favorites. I brought home cuttings of these geraniums.

There are several varieties of geranium here. I brought home cuttings from them all.

Here is where I go each month for her “Velvet Touch.” What a peaceful place to receive the “Restoration, Relaxation, Therapeutic massage” that she promises (and delivers).

This orange tree was planted before they moved in five years ago and bearing nicely. It shows me that even citrus will grow at our elevation. Their elevation is a couple thousand feet higher than mine (2300 feet).

Velvet planted a bush cherry that is already producing nice leaves, while mine is still just a stick. I hope to see leaves sprouting out of mine before long. Here is her apple tree – not one I’ve tried yet, but probably will.

Then on down to the Replogle’s vegetable garden. I’m so envious! Take your pick for dinner.

Every garden needs peppers!

And more veggies!

Like most of us here in Ocean View, Velvet and John make their own soil through composting. Here she has laid out her bed for a future corn patch, as soon as it starts to get warmer again.

Of course, she has seedlings going for even more veggies.

Even though this chair looks inviting, I wonder when she has time to relax. She said that when she doesn’t have someone on her massage table, she’s out working in the garden.

Perhaps this shows where she gains much of her inner strength and ability to create such a beautiful spot on this earth.


Mahalo, Velvet and John, for allowing us to experience your piece of Paradise.

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