Helping Hands - Graydon Livingston

Photo: R. R. Jones

Graydon Livingston

UCSC Farm & Garden

Signs of Graydon Livingston are everywhere at the UCSC Farm & Garden--literally. His hand-carved sign welcomes visitors to the Alan Chadwick Garden, and apprentices use his hand-turned redwood dibbles for planting. His arbors grace both the Farm and the Garden, and he built a memorial bench in honor of early Garden supporters Page and Eloise Smith.

Livingston, 79, is a man whose love of aesthetics combines with his problem-solving nature to create functional items of beauty. Decades in the display industry--including 30 years of sculpting high-fashion mannequins for Saks Fifth Avenue--gave him a professional outlet for his talents. Now, as a regular volunteer at the Farm & Garden, Graydon says simply, "I'm happiest when my hands are busy."

Livingston discovered the Farm nine years ago when he was planning his own garden, and he's been showing up several times a week ever since.

"At a place like this, there are always projects no one has time to get to," says Livingston, who designed and crafted a bee observatory for children, dreamed up ingenious devices to expedite planting, and single-handedly started hundreds of gourd plants for sale at the annual spring plant sale.

Yet this gentle man maintains that he gets as much as he gives.

"Sure, I've done a few things up here," he says modestly, "but I think I take away as much in energy as I put in."

--Jennifer McNulty

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