Our Story – It was the summer of 1979 as my sister and I nestled into the plush, baby-blue backseat of my parents’ Buick and watched the blur of evergreens and maples outside the car’s mammoth-sized windows. We drove on, mile after mile, to our family’s cabin and garden in the once sleepy country town we cherished. This little treasure was the start of my love for gardens and landscapes.
Stream at our second home.
After what seemed like forever, we drove up the winding, gravel-covered road flanked by rocky, wildflower-covered bluffs, sweet blackberry brambles, and colorful red maples.
All of us anticipated seeing our wonderful garden of herbs, apple orchard, and purple maples we sowed beside the place we called our second home.
Parents on the farm.
Half-way between our cozy little chalet and our mountain-fed creek was a small campground and gardens where outdoor zealots could set up camp and park their vintage Winnebagos to admire the panorama of neighboring, rugged mountain ridges.
While we were gone, both were looked after by Mr. Cross, a towering, lanky man. He was in his 70’s and had thinning grey hair and weathered, raspberry-red stained hands. He and his wife built the rustic A-frame cottage just up the steep road from ours.
I remember scents of aromatic mesquite hickory and freshly sliced tomatoes were always present in their back-yard cannery. Like my family, the Crosses introduced me to gardens, garden structures, plant forms, textures, and so much more.
Small campground, edible gardens, and outdoor zealots.
In 1919, my grandparents made the long journey to America from Sicily and called New York City their home.
Not only did they bring their aspirations for a new life of prosperity, they brought their passion for organic, self-sustainable kitchen gardens and landscape design.
They cherished their private, manicured spaces of flowering and edible plants much like my parents today. There they could comfortably sit and admire what nature and their hands had created.
They believed that houses, cities, and greenery should be harmonious. I remember my family saying that nature and the environment should always be an important factor in everyone’s lives and living spaces. The arrangement of plants at our summer home was a robust example and yet it’s something you do not see in yards today.
The Crosses and their cannery.
After leaving home for university, a successful career of 20 plus years in graphic design and time spent traveling the world, I found myself, spending more time outside and in the garden. I felt the need to bring nature closer to encourage bee and wildlife populations, to protect the environment and the organic way of life for me and my family.
I soon rediscovered the passion for gardens and landscape designs – an integration of life and landscapes with purpose, personality and mood.
I believed spaces could become outdoor ‘rooms’ comprised of grasses, flowers, stout shrubs and stately trees. I wanted to build little sanctums that each home could incorporate and share with their loved ones.
My dreams were soon filled with designs both naturalistic and formal, full of colors and organic textures…much like my family and the Crosses taught me.
Today, many of us do not think of our gardens as an intrinsic part of our homes – somewhere to eat, play, entertain, and to relax. They are in fact a space that can be a reflection of your personality, passions, and interests. Gardens and landscapes can also have a positive affect your health and wellness. Simply put, nature improves our lives and lifestyles.
Sicilian family garden.
The gardens of those who came before me have inspired the way I design landscapes and gardens. My parents and others close to me unknowingly ‘planted’ my love for something that transcends time. The love for something that has moved through the generations in my family and those of others.
We broke ground with a single Jahkomo design. We incorporated our vision of gardens and landscapes with purpose, beauty, personality, mood and practicality – an integration of life and garden with landscapes that are more connected to our daily lives.
Your outdoor space, or backyard, is your largest ‘room’ in the house. It can be a multifunctional space by dividing an outdoor space into distinct canvases. It may be dull and lifeless now, but when it’s redesigned, reinvigorated, it will become a focus of your life throughout the year.
Imagine starting your morning on the patio for breakfast. Dine alfresco under a palm-covered table. Reflect in the nearby flower garden. Greet guest, sip tea or host a party under the arbor.
Family garden entrance. Circa 1979
A well-designed garden is a lovely humane space. Not some kind of horticultural display cabinet. Not some kind of adjunct beside the house but completely integral to your life. It’s an integration of life and garden.
Gardens are healing spaces. It’s part of the substance of life and not just a place to just slap a table, dusty chairs and a rusty barbecue. It’s meant to be cozy, comfortable, and sociable. To be a calming, entertaining space for you and your loved ones. A space to spend an evening with a glass of wine while dusk falls.
So, on a freakishly cool May evening in Florida, the dream of Jahkomo Landscape and Garden Design suddenly became reality after months of focused planning, building and creating.
We opened the ‘barn doors’ the following day.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
– Albert Einstein