Sallie Grows a Gathering Space at Canterbury Woods

“I love the dirt,” exclaims Sallie Brun. “There’s no better way to put it. I have my hands in the dirt and my dog Sweetie by my side most of the time. It’s my favorite thing to do.”

Sallie and her dog Sweetie enjoy
nature at Canterbury Woods.

Sallie developed her passion for gardening as a child growing up on her parents’ farm in the Salinas Valley, one of the most productive agricultural regions in California. It was there where she found a deep connection to the earth – a connection she maintains at Canterbury Woods. Anyone who visits her home immediately notices the beautiful flowers and plants that circle her bungalow. Immediately after arriving in 2011, Sallie saw the potential for a beautiful garden, not only for her own home but for the entire community.

“There was a big plot of Canterbury Woods land next to the parking lot that was once a garden when the community was first built in 1965 but that had not been tended to, so the first thing that came to my mind was why not revitalize this space?” Sallie said. She soon got to work with a local landscape designer who had consulted for Canterbury Woods to create an oasis for all residents to enjoy.

When Sallie moved to Canterbury Woods working in the gardens and contributing to the   community’s landscaping fund via the Front Porch Communities Foundation, were her ways to pay it forward. “I have this community in my heart,” she said. “It’s so meaningful to me to be able to provide support for Canterbury Woods through my time and gifts.”

Sallie’s contributions to the landscaping fund made the garden’s rejuvenation possible. The result is multicolored plants, camellias, and a Japanese black pine tree to complement the nearby koi pond.

“We’re making it a modern garden,” Sallie noted. The project updates the heart of the garden and creates a space for residents to gather. Residents regularly host happy hours there and have plans to enjoy barbecues and other social events.

When it came time to christen the new garden, residents voted unanimously to rename the space “Sallie’s Garden,” in honor of all of Sallie’s contributions to the garden and the wider Canterbury Woods community.

“I never expected the garden to be named after me,” Sallie said, “but I felt proud and honored.”

No doubt Sallie has established deep roots at Canterbury Woods literally and figuratively. Her parents, Henry and Muriel Brun, lived at the community in the 1980s and ‘90s paving her way to residency.

“I remember visiting them all of the time and saw how happy they were,” Sallie remembers. “I knew even back then that when I retired I did not want to live anywhere else.”