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GUEST COLUMN: A Garden Of Felicity In Del Mar

By Jason Chen and Karen England, for Let's Talk Plants! December 2021.

Karen England
As the sun sets over the Pacific . . . seen from the Drukey House in Del Mar, CA, November 2021.

Now in her mid nineties, Felicity Drukey, has been gardening in Del Mar, California for over 30 years but she learned to garden long before that as a child by appropriating her mother's washtub, filling it with soil and planting it with bits of things "to see what would grow".

The Drukey house in Del Mar was built in the 1960s, a total wreck of a place, inside and out, by the time she and her late husband moved south from Los Angeles in the early 1990s. Felicity, a writer, inventor and crafter, has a creative personality and an active nature that perfectly complemented her talented and energetic husband and together they completely renovated many houses and gardens through the years. Through hard work and tenacity she turned her Del Mar home and garden into the beautiful and inspiring showplace it is today with perfectly framed views of the Pacific Ocean. Her garden was the Grand Prize Winner of the 2001 Gardens of the Year contest by San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine because "it is a masterpiece of laced trees and shrubs which frame ocean views and set off the sparkling pond just outside the glass doors of the living room".

photo; Karen England
Newsletter editor-in-chief Karen England's mirror selfie in Felicity Drukey's garden wall.

Clever touches are throughout the landscape, such as mirrors on the side walls of the garden that open up the small space to be as expansive as the ocean view beyond. The Japanese pines are a perpetual "ground cover" due to the handcrafted weights hung on the branches like ornaments.

In December 2001 Felicity wrote an article titled What A Garden Means To Me in Botanically Correct (a previous name of this very newsletter!) that sums up her garden now as it did then . . .

" . . . A garden may be considered as both a physical and emotional communication between an 'indoors' and 'outdoors' and an 'inner' and an 'outer' life. A garden in its most limited status may be but a simple window box facing a blank city wall. Filled with greenery or bright flowers (perhaps even with the addition of a small tray of water into which the sky is reflected or a bird drinks), it draws an otherwise confined spirit to share its symbolism of life.
Conversely, confronted by a sweeping and overwhelming vista, an artfully designed landscape, like a loving friend, may subtly invite one's attention to linger and savor some special focal point - be it a distant mountain peak or a humble cluster of succulents huddled against a boulder . . . "
Artfully handcrafted with wire, rocks and rubble become ornamental weights keeping the Japanese pines low and out of the ocean view.

Imbedded into the deck are assorted collected tokens, not to mention a potted plant.

SDHS board member, Jason Chen, assists Felicity in her wonderfully designed garden these days, now that her health has hampered her hands-on gardening time. Together they discuss each plant and the details of its needs; pruning, trimming, feeding, etc... and they formulate a care plan for Jason to accomplish. This dedication, of these two plant friends, shows in the garden's continued stellar good looks!


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