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By Karen Krugman.

Self-described “Novices in the Garden,” Sam and Terri Seat came to San Diego and SDHS via a circuitous route. Terri, a California native (born in Santa Monica and raised in the San Fernando Valley) met Sam, a Southern boy (born in Nashville and raised in Atlanta) when he was stationed in San Diego as a naval flight officer. Terri, a rising star in the banking world, was living in San Jose at the time. Married in 1985, they purchased their home in Bonita in 1988. Raising a family and work left little time for thoughts of landscaping.

“We did enough so that the lawn looked good and the neighbors were happy."

When Sam left the Navy, he took some landscaping classes at Southwestern College in hopes of getting into the golf course industry. He worked for some years as a project manager for a construction group that built clubhouses for golf courses. When that business closed, Sam retired and began looking in his own back yard.

“We knew we needed help because we would buy plants and they would die."

Building the back yard koi pond was the start of the Seats' landscape transformation.

It was building their Koi pond, about twelve years ago, that set the wheels in motion. All those mounds of dirt inspired Sam and Terri to reduce the lawn and go toward succulents and water wise gardening. Fortunately, Sam and Terri met SDHS members Frank and Susan Oddo at a San Diego Koi Club meeting. The Oddos introduced them to the SDHS. Meeting Jim Bishop at a New Membership Orientation led to the transformation of their backyard.

"We have gone from a front and back yard of mostly grass, with a few non-waterwise plants, to yards full of colorful and beautiful succulents and low water plants, with a small grass area in the back yard.”

The Seats' front yard, once mostly grass, is now a succulent paradise.

Sam gave Jim the hardscape plan and Jim picked and arranged the plants. There is still a patch of lawn in the backyard, but backwashing the Koi pond filter provides the necessary water and nutrients to keep the remaining grass healthy. Sam does most of the designing and both Sam and Terri plant and work the yard. The couple engaged Linda Bresler, another SDHS member, to create a succulent paradise in the front yard. Most plants are in-ground, while pots are strategically placed around the property.

Committed Volunteers Over the Years

In addition to their gardening pursuits, Terri and Sam have been donating their time to important causes throughout the years. While stationed with the Navy in Japan, Terri volunteered at Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS), Atsugi. Throughout their boys’ youth, she volunteered for PTO/PTSA, taught Sunday School, held leadership positions for the Cub and Boy Scouts, and was a high school cross country booster club member. When Sam retired from the Navy, Terri put her volunteer experience at NMCRS to good use by getting a paying job with NMCRS, San Diego, where she last held the position of volunteer coordinator. (Terri, I’m coming for you in three years!) Terri’s latest volunteer interest is Generate Hope, an organization that assists women who have been victims of sex trafficking.

Sam is the current treasurer of the Chula Vista Genealogy Society and former treasurer at SDHS. He is an avid genealogist and he just may have some famous distant relatives…ask him! Nowadays, you will find them both helping to check members in at our monthly meetings. Be sure to stop by and say, “Hi!”

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