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Beckers plant new, old roots in Manteca

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Beckers plant new, old roots in Manteca

Duane and Genie Becker show off two of their bonsai plants. Duane is holding one of his award-winning woodcarvings; Genie with one of her own award-winning original quilts.


POSTED May 1, 2014 1:07 a.m.

The mature plants and trees in the gardens of this new Manteca home at Woodbridge Del Webb are nearly all Sonoma-grown. An instant garden – that’s what Duane and Genie Becker had when they moved into their new residence in the Family City.

All in all, they moved five truckloads of plants and trees over a period of time in the spring from their former home in Sebastopol in Sonoma County, said Duane who was an electrical engineer for IBM in San Jose and Hewlett-Packard in Sebastopol before retiring. That was about two years ago.

“We brought all of my wife’s roses – as many as I could. There’s probably 15 different roses that I brought,” he said.

The rest included 11 Aptos Blue redwoods, “a bunch of cannas – red, pink, yellow and orange, and some that are multicolored,” some lilies of a different hybrid, Japanese quince with double-petal salmon blossoms, a couple of lilac bushes, a pomegranate, and citrus trees (mandarin orange, Myers lemon, and tangelo) some of which are of the dwarf variety.

The horticultural loot also included three Japanese maples “to fill up the yard,” plus a gigantic elephant ear.

They would have loved to have their dogwood tree brought here as well, “but it was too big to move,” Duane said.

“We also brought some kiwi plants but they all died,” he sadly noted.

They did not bring the plants to their new home right away because it was not yet ready for the landscaping. So they were parked temporarily at their son’s home in Turlock.

“Unfortunately, they didn’t water all my plants; that’s why I lost the kiwi plants,” he said.

The small pomegranate bloomed a few times in Sebastopol and bore about a dozen fruit last year. The roughly five-foot tall young tree is blooming right now.

The Aptos Blue redwoods now grace a corner of the back yard and collectively pull double duty as a wind blocker.

“The neighbors needed some shade in their backyard, so I did them a favor,” Duane chuckled.

In front of the evergreens, smack dab in the center, is the giant elephant ear. This cool corner in the back yard is his wife’s meditation area. A summer seating area with a table shaded by a giant canvas umbrella will contain a display of Genie’s paintings, which includes watercolors and painted porcelain china, during the Manteca Garden Tour on Saturday, May 10. The Beckers’ garden is one of the six home gardens featured in the tour which will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. One of Genie’s paintings was a finalist in the contest conducted to find an art work to feature in the garden tour’s brochure, flyers, and advertising banners this year. The competition was a collaborative effort between the Manteca Garden Club and the Manteca Artist Guild. Several garden club members also belong to the artist guild.

Genie, a retired San Jose Kaiser registered nurse who was also a health inspector for California, is an award-winning quilter to boot. Some of her original creations, some of which have received prestigious honors, will be part of the tour attraction at their Del Webb home.

Not to be outdone in the artistic department, Duane himself is a woodturner. Some of his award-winning bowls – from Lathrop’s annual Mayor’s Art Purchase Show and Sale – will be prominently displayed in the garden likewise during the garden tour.

New Buds Nursery on South Manteca Road did the Beckers’ landscaping and built the small shed in the back yard which serves as greenhouse and storage shed. Some of the trees also came from New Buds.

Duane and Genie Becker are equal-opportunity gardeners at home. While they pursue separate hobbies, gardening is something they mutually enjoy. In addition to their son in Turlock, they also have a daughter who lives with her family in Pittsburgh, Penn. A graduate of UC Davis, she was a nutritionist who now works in real estate. She and her husband have three children. One of them works in robotical engineering and has a doctorate degree from CMU in Pennsylvania. The Beckers’ son in Turlock also is married with two sons.

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