By Francesca Filanc.
We, who love gardening and gardens never cease to appreciate and enjoy the beauty inspiration, knowledge, love and pure joy that our gardens or a friend’s garden or a public garden, such as the San Diego Botanic Garden, gives back to us.
The artichokes are coming to an end for the season, but we have been enjoying artichokes for three months. When I moved to this property five and a half years ago I planted one artichoke plant. I have not had to plant one since. I have had as many as forty-eight artichokes on one plant in a season. After the plant finishes producing artichokes, my gardeners remove the plant, but beforehand we look carefully for the babies that are growing around the mother plant. In previous years I have had one or two babies. This past year I had three pups. Those can be transplanted. Sometimes the babies are attached to the mother plant, so carefully detach the small plants before recycling the finished artichoke in your compost pile or green waste.
I plant my sweet pea flowers, Lathyrus odoratus, in November and I still have sweet peas blooming in the garden now. The gardeners pick them twice a week and I can enjoy their fragrance and beauty in my home. (Note: sweet pea flowers are not edible like garden peas, Pisum sativum. I also plant edible peas and enjoyed a mighty crop of sugar snaps this past winter.)
When I was a young woman I had a dear friend, Jennifer, who always had beautiful fresh cut flowers from her garden in her kitchen. I decided then and there that I would have fresh cut flowers in my home year around. Jennifer had a gorgeous kitchen with accents of yellow. Yellow daffodils or tulips would do the trick every time. I was always so happy to visit Jennifer and see ‘sunshine’ in the kitchen. My friend loved to cook and was an excellent cook. Bringing the garden into the kitchen, whether for culinary purposes or beauty or both, makes a house a home. Alice Waters’ daughter, Fanny Singer, in her book ‘Always Home' speaks of how her mother always brought rosemary into her kitchen to burn for the fragrance the rosemary emits.
In my garden design, I have a terrace with rosemary cascading over a block wall, hidden from view. I planted it for the fragrance in my garden, the beauty and the culinary use it provides. I have bundles of rosemary that I clip and put in containers around the garden, on dining tables, coffee tables and my gardening bench. As Alice Waters does, I bring the rosemary into the kitchen and sometimes in other rooms in the house as well. I always love to have highly fragrant flowers in the master bedroom and bath. I have purchased, here and there, beautiful vases, not expensive, Home Goods has lovely ones. When company comes to visit I always put beautiful bouquets of flowers from the garden in their bedrooms or bathroom to greet them on their arrival. When I do not have flowers to pick from the garden, I buy them at Trader Joes. They have beautiful cut flowers. (Harvest Ranch Market and Cardiff Seaside Market do also.)
Such an easy way to brighten up one's day is to fill one's home with flowers and/or cuttings from plants or herbs from one’s garden.
As covid restrictions are going away and the world is opening back up because so many of us have had our vaccines, we can invite people back into our gardens. There is no greater joy than entertaining family and friends in our gardens.