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By Francesca Filanc.

Francie Filanc
Front walk and Pergola.

When I first moved to this property five plus years ago, I knew I wanted to make large changes in the garden. I started right away building a pergola to extend out the front walk and I bought Cooke's Chinese Wisteria, Wisteria sinensis 'Cooke's Purple', to climb up and cover the pergola.

Francesca Filanc
Cooke's Wisteria.

I also knew I wanted to make a romantic garden in front; all that it was then was a mass of lawn stretching all the way to the street and around the property. I also knew I wanted to make privacy for myself, family and guests.

I knew that my grandchildren would love to play in a garden full of paths, sweet smelling flowers and plants.

I could imagine the girls giggling and running along; stopping here and there to have a private moment with a bluebelly lizard or stopping to be in awe of nature as they admired butterflies and dragonflies sailing to and fro from flower to flower and birds taking baths in bird baths and fountains.

All of my envisioning has come true. I eat most of my meals outside in good weather. And during this pandemic the garden has taken on another source of delight and comfort for me with neighbors taking walks past the property.

The Author's granddaughter took this photo of a Bluebelly Lizard inFrancesca's garden.

All these things give me great joy, happiness and comfort. We are all so fortunate to have the passion of plants, gardening and gardens!

Two years ago at this time I was getting ready, preparing for a two and a half month trip around the world. The trip was inspired by dear friends who were sailing around the world on their 47’ ocean going yacht.

“Francie come meet us in Auckland, NZ and we will travel together through New Zealand where our boat will be for the summer months”.

So I left on February 21 for the adventure of a lifetime.

After exploring the north and south islands for three weeks with my dear friends. I bade them goodbye and traveled on to Australia, visiting six countries in all.

I commissioned, Clark, a builder, to build low walls around the property that would work as terraces and while I was on my trip this project continued. Clark also built a brick patio area on one of the terraces and a large pergola to cover the patio. Then, when I arrived home from the life changing experiences, we got right to work building the garden.

I had about 16 of my favorite garden books stretched out, opened to pages of gardens I love, on my dining room table for two months. I knew I wanted to have a garden that attracted birds and butterflies, so I planted lots of the flowering shrubs and trees that they love. I put in many water features for the birds to drink and take baths.

In the end, creating this garden has been a godsend with the pandemic. I am out in it every day.

Francesca Filanc
"Sea of Life" Fine Art Painting by garden inspired artist Francesca Filanc.

Enjoy gardening,


Francesca Filanc
Francesca painting "Sea of Life".

Artist, author, photographer, fly-fisher woman, Francesca Filanc grew up in old Del Mar and these days lives, paints and gardens in historic Olivenhain with two French poodles.

Find her art and writings here:

She can be found on social media here:

Have gardening questions or want to learn more about Francie’s art? Contact:


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