Dear Ruth Sawyer played a profoundly important role in my life. With support from husband John, they gave me the opportunity to become their Gardener for their Indian Hill, Ohio estate (April 1975-October 1976).
Ruth's caring,kindness,keen support plus genuine and passionate interest in gardening helped us create very special gardens that resembled a small botanical garden complete with large vegetable gardens, wildflower borders, and a lovely woodland garden. Eventually the gardens covered a considerable acreage.
Ruth graciously opened their home to me and with John's support provided everything that was needed to produce the best gardens possible. Many people have commented that Ruth was like a 'second Mother' to them and I certainly agree. But in my case Ruth was like a wonderful older Sister and Best Garden Friend. Her personality was charismatic and highly supportive. John and Ruth were the most caring, considerate and finest employers that I have ever known.
With their encouragement and support, the gardens produced on their property were largely responsible for my future success in all gardening and horticulture projects around the world. They allowed me to create special designs and displays plus experiement with many different garden products, styles and techniques. Also I was able to grow almost everything that would possibly survive in their southern Ohio climate zone. This gave me a very broad and enlightening botanical experience. John and Ruth offered me the opportunity of a lifetime. This experience broadened my horizons and inspired me to greater achievements. Plus they gave me wonderful memories and a portfolio of garden photographs that I still treasure today. They gave me one of the first and most important opportunities in my early professional gardening career. I credit much of my later success to the caring, kindness and passionate interest in gardening that we shared together all those years ago. May Ruth and John Sawyer be Eternally Blessed for what they did.
As a result of this experience combined with my involvement in several highly successful community garden projects like Flower Power and Cincinnati Urb Growers, I was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and Bukacho (Japan Cultural Agency). This propelled my career into Japanese Society that lead to their 'Green Revolution'. Then onward to influence Singapore's Garden City concept. The Greening of Australia soon followed. Today I hold the honored title of 'Garden Guru of New Zealand'.
All of you can see what Ruth and John did for me by taking a good look through this website: www.daleharvey.com
Their influence is on every page.
I thank the Sawyers for their great contribution to my career advancement and success.
Ruth gave me the confidence to be daring and give anything a try.
I will always remain in gratitude for the kindness and great opportunities offered by the Sawyers.
On a very personal note:
Ruth and I shared a very special and unusual relationship from the very beginning, right up to now. Long before i ever met Ruth, I first saw her face through a vision; something that seldom occurred for me as a young man. But one day while working with my plants in Cincinnati, I was nearly overwhelmed by the image of a great grey triangle. In the midst of the triangle stood a dramatic woman resembling a beautiful Judy Garland, dressed in a floor-length brown robe. Like a movie star, she slowly took a puff on a long More cigarette as she turned and smiled at me.
I knew immediately that I was meant to work with her.
For the next six weeks I made it my mission to find her. Every day I would head out and follow my heart and impulse; knowing that if I was dedicated and persistent, I would eventually find her. After enquiring with many helpful people, my seacrh eventually lead me to the Village of Indian Hill, Ohio. While stopping for petrol, an almost angelic very kind Gentleman responded most positively to my query. He said, "why this sounds like it could be the Sawyer Estate, It is quite nearby. I think they are looking for a Gardener. Maybe like you."
So with confident excitement, I followed his directions. They led me up a long driveway. In front of me loomed an imposing grey triangular wall to the estate home. I recognized it instantly. As I parked in front of the house, I saw that the front door was open. A soft voice told me to knock and then walk straight in. As I did, a short distance down the hallway stood Dear Ruth Sawyer facing the other way so she didn't see me at first. She wore a floor length brown robe and was most elegantly holding a long More cigarette. As she took a puff, she turned and calmly smiled as she said, "Good Lord, who are you?" And I answered, "I'm your Gardener." Her smile warmed as she said, "Well, come along then." Several hours later, after a lovely encounter walking around the property with Ruth, I left confident that I had found my new home. What followed is now history and the memories I retain from that experience will forever warm my heart.
It has been far too many years since Iast had any contact with the Sawyers. Our paths took us in very different directions.
Then in the early morning hours of June 17, 2013, Dear Ruth came to me most affectionately and vividly in a wonderful dream.
So the first thing that morning I researched her name on the Internet and discovered immediately that Ruth had passsed over.
That night Ruth came to say 'Good-Bye'.
Truly she has risen and looked so beautiful and radiant as I always remembered her to be.
I felt elated as if her visitation had somehow reignited my spirit.
My heart filled with the same joy and passion that I once felt while working there in the gardens with the Sawyers.
It was a great honor to have known Ruth and John. They uplifted my life.
May Ruth and John Sawyer be Eternally Blessed for what they did.
~ Dale Harvey,
Auckland, New Zealand
Published in The Madison Press on June 6, 2013
Ruth Dennis Sawyer, 81, passed away Thursday, May 30, 2013.
She was born Feb. 24, 1932.
Beloved wife of John Sawyer for 60 years. Loving mother of Anne (Rex) Wetherill, Elizabeth (Blake) Selnick, Catherine Sawyer, and Mary (Bobby) Stephens. Devoted grandmother of John (Holly) Putnam, Meredith (Mark) St. Amour, Daniel Wetherill, Matthew Wetherill, Will Selnick, Anna Selnick, Nicholas Ryall, Christina Ryall, Jonathan Ryall, Patrick Ryall, Robert Stephens, Charles Stephens, and Sarah Stephens. Adored great-grandmother of Aiden Putnam.
Ruth was an avid gardener and touched thousands of lives supporting the church, the arts and her passion for Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati.
She was an incredibly talented artist. There wasn't anything she wasn't good at or anything she wouldn't try.
She will be dearly missed.
Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m. Monday, June 10, at the Gwen Mooney Funeral Home - Spring Grove Chapel, 4389 Spring Grove Ave., Cincinnati; (513) 853-1035, 1-888-853-2230. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 11, 2013, at the Norman Chapel at Spring Grove Cemetery. Interment will be at Spring Grove Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be given to Alpha One and the Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati.
Sympathy may be expressed at www.springgrove.org.