History of Ola Brisa Gardens

Logo civilized jungle Capture

Living and working in and around the Pacific Rim for well over four years, as well as on the Arabian Peninsula another two, Tommy has honed his appreciation of tropical and sub-tropical palms, plants and flora first hand. 

Patty and Tommy’s year spent on the 1.2 square mile island of Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands, his work in Hawaii as the creator of Coconut Post and their vacation time spent in Spain and Italy have but only further sharpened their fondness for the diverse array of botanical varieties found in these warmer climes. 

Now, from these locales and scores more, the carefully landscaped and neatly terraced botanical gardens of Ola Brisa are comprised of the hundreds of specimens – from all over the world – making it, indeed, “The Civilized Jungle”.  

Knowing they wished to retire in Mexico they first purchased a lovely property overlooking the Bay of Banderas, just south of Puerto Vallarta in 2004.  Shortly thereafter, on it, they commenced planting unique and rare palms.  Then, in 2006, escaping the yoke of private/public sector labors became a reality for them and they acquired the magnificent, hillside lot, overlooking the Santiago Bay in Manzanillo.

Comprised of a stunning view of the ocean’s waves below – and nearer by, the garden’s waving palm fronds – coupled with the breeze off of the ocean during the day and a gentle wind blowing down from the mountains in the evenings, their home and gardens assumed the logical name – Ola Brisa – for each wave and breeze which make it such an idyllic locale!

Barely four months into renovation of their new home Tommy was ask to help in the rebuilding work in Louisiana post Hurricane Katrina with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  They both answered this call working out of New Orleans for nine months. 

As a result, with the exception of four palms that they were able to plant before embarking on this work in the U.S. Deep South, little more was accomplished until late 2007.  Then – with only the interruption of two short contract jobs back in Iraq and four months spent, again with the Corps, during the Missouri River flood of 2011 – they began in earnest to create Ola Brisa Gardens.

His weekly column on the tropical palms, plants and flora of these gardens, “Planting Roots in Mexico”, published in various English hard copy and electronic news magazines is a favorite of ex-pats, locals and vacationers alike.

Below are pictures of our hillside when we acquired it, and now.

The Evolution of Ola Brisa Gardens

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Ola Brisa Gardens “The Uncivilized Jungle”
April 2007










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Ola Brisa Gardens “The Civilized Jungle”
April 2013