Julia Churchill Hardin, of 41 Cayuga Street, Trumansburg passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 31, 2010 at the age of 72.

Born in Cortland, New York on August 16, 1937, Julia was the daughter of the late Charles and Eleanor (Beattie) Churchill. Julie loved nature. Her fondest early memories were of “going to the brook” behind her house in Cortland and an 8th grade trip to the islands of Saranac Lake. She enjoyed going out and “investigating” things around her. But, also never lost sight of the usefulness of books. She studied the nature leaflets of Anna Botsford Comstock as a child, and took great interest visiting a family friend at Cornell who taught her how to draw birds and often lent her birds to study.

She said if anyone had encouraged her in those days she would have become an ecologist. Instead, she traveled to Switzerland as an exchange student where she remembered the grey bread served by her host family, and the sound of the cows coming to the local watering hole with their jingling bells on the way up to pasture in the mountains. She went to Wheaton College and studied French. And after graduating she worked for Pan American as a flight attendant.

Flying allowed her to see parts of Africa and the Middle East, and made an indelible impression in her mind. She spoke of the jade green waters off the coast of Ghana, colonial tensions, burgeoning apartheid in South Africa, insect sounds in the Savannah, long Atlantic flights carrying passengers out of Germany before the Berlin wall closed, and many other experiences.

Following her work for Pan American, she held a job as a translator at a large law office in Manhattan. But, on a summer visit back to Cortland, she realized while working in her mother’s garden that the city was not for her. She became a French teacher in Tully, and then taught in Ithaca and the Park School in Buffalo.

In the meantime she was reacquainted with Martin D. Hardin, a minister and close friend. They were married and shared a life together in Buffalo before coming to Trumansburg to live. Julie taught Sunday school and with Martin led youth group canoe trips to the Adirondacks. She is remembered for the great camp meals she made, and the skills she imparted. Julie knew how to do things right in the woods. She knew the way to use an axe and paddle a canoe, and she knew the right knot to tie for anything.

It was by taking a job at the Village Greenhouse (in order to buy a well-made canoe) that Julie started the next phase of her life. Her interest in gardening then brought her to White’s Nursery in Mecklenburg. Her time at White’s was life changing. And, in time she began her own business.

In 1982, after many hopeful years, Julie gave birth to her daughter Betsy. She introduced her daughter early to the woods, a place revered by her inspiration Jan W. Ebbinge. She loved trees and wild places. In her garden she cultivated woodland plants from the Cayuga Lake basin, the Adirondacks, and Asia. She observed how plants grew—their communities, habits, roots, and soil. And, she enjoyed watching them over many years. Her garden was her laboratory, and the plants she grew took time.

As her daughter grew up, Julie became increasingly interested in woodworking. She spent many winter hours in her barn working on miniatures, elaborate formal gardens, and abstract sculptures.

Her last work was to produce a book on growing plants entitled Rooted in the Cayuga Lake Basin. It will be printed this spring in collaboration with a retrospective showing of her sculptures at the Ulysses Philomathic Library in Trumansburg.

 Julia is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth Hardin of Trumansburg (Thomas Slater); and two sisters, Sara Presthus of Interlaken and Margaret Moulton of Olympia, Washington.

 A Memorial Service to celebrate Julia’s life will be held at 4:00 p.m., on Monday, February 8 at the Trumansburg Church of Epiphany.

The family asks those who wish to make a contribution in Julia’s memory to kindly consider the SPCA, 1640 Hanshaw Rd. , Ithaca , NY 14850 , the Finger Lakes Land Trust, 202 East Court St., Ithaca , NY 14850 , or the Adirondack Council, PO Box D-2, Elizabethtown , NY 12932 .