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NEXT SD HORT BOOK CLUB: Nov 7, 2022 - The Complete Writings Of Kate Sessions in CA Garden

You are invited to join the SD Hort Book Club
– everyone is welcome.
SDHBC meets the first Monday of every month (except when we skip a month😁) on Zoom at 4:30 p.m. for Happy Half Hour social time and 5 p.m. for book discussion. Zoom link is emailed directly to SDHBC members.

Interested? Send an email to with “book club” in the subject line.

November 7, 2022 - The Complete Writings Of Kate Sessions in California Garden – New Edition - San Diego Floral Association. © 2020 Non-fiction.

Special Event: Not to be missed . . .

. . . November is Kate Sessions birthday and to celebrate, members of the San Diego Floral Association have been invited to join in our discussion and the SDFA editors of this book have agreed to join us in the discussion. What an event this will be!

Reviewed by Lucy Warren, originally published in California Garden, Mar-Apr 2020.

“Kate Olivia Sessions began her contributions to California Garden magazine in the very first issue in 1909 with advice on tending “The July Flower Garden” and specific advice on the history, description and cultivation of “Romneya coulteri, or Matilija Poppy”. Her final article “Palms” was found among her papers and published posthumously in 1940.” - Lucy Warren

Bonus tidbit from SDHS member Lynn Neagley: Kate Sessions is prominently listed in the Smithsonian Gardens Timeline of American Garden History. Check it out here - Timeline of American Garden History - Smithsonian Gardens (


Looking ahead:

December 5, 2022 - The Multifarious Mr. Banks: From Botany Bay to Kew, The Natural Historian Who Shaped the World by Toby Musgrave © 2020 Biography. Yale University Press.

About the book:

In this engaging account, Toby Musgrave reveals the true extent of Banks’s contributions to science and Britain. From an early age Banks pursued his passion for natural history through study and extensive travel, most famously on the HMS Endeavour. He went on to become a pivotal figure in the advancement of British scientific, economic, and colonial interests. With his enquiring, enterprising mind and extensive network of correspondents, Banks’s reputation and influence were global. Drawing widely on Banks's writings, Musgrave sheds light on Banks’s profound impact on British science and empire in an age of rapid advancement.


October book review:

On October 3, 2022, the SDHBC discussed Vanilla: Travels in Search of the Ice Cream Orchid by Tim Ecott © 2004 History. Grove Press.

We gave this book👍one thumb up. If you like travelogues, you should enjoy this book. However, there were no recipes. Good news, there are other books, such as Vanilla: The Cultural History of the World's Favorite Flavor and Fragrance by Patricia Rain, all about vanilla orchids that do have recipes if you aren't into travel books.

As a part of this discussion, Karen England demonstrated her method of making homemade vanilla extract, complete with a downloadable recipe sheet, something that has served her and her kitchen well for 32 years. Homemade Vanilla Extract the Karen England Method.pdf

She also promised to share info and pictures here in this column from her fresh vanilla lunch and guided vineyard tour of the Hawaiian Vanilla Company Farm in 2013. This is the lunch tour menu:

Drink: Choice of Vanilla Lemonade, Vanilla Iced Tea or a combination—also called a "Jimmy Boy".

PuPu's (appetizer): An "amuse" of garam masala shrimp cooked in vanilla butter served on a crostini with our Vanilla Pineapple Chutney.

Salad & Side Dish: Fresh salad topped with Vanilla Raspberry Balsamic Dressing, Vanilla Honey Peppered Pecans and feta cheese. Accompanied by sliced potatoes baked in a Vanilla Southwest Rub.

Main Dish: Vanilla Bourbon Marinated Chicken Breast on a Vanilla Sweet Bread Bun topped with caramelized onions. Served with Vanilla Barbecue Sauce and Vanilla Mango Chutney Aioli.

Dessert: Homemade Hawaiian Vanilla Bean ice cream served alongside local Hawaiian coffee.

While my cousin and I were at the Vanilla Farm in 2013 touring, my husband and hers were out fishing. During lunch we both got texts with pictures of their respective catches, so we sent texts back with pictures with our (catches) - vanilla beans!

About the book:

Grant on rated it: He liked it. Saying, “At $500/Kg raw vanilla is my favorite drug.”

"From Papantla in Mexico - 'the city that perfumed the world' - to the Indian Ocean islands, Vanilla traces the story of the vanilla plant and its secretive trade. From the golden cups of Aztec emperors to the ice-cream dishes of U.S. presidents, Vanilla has mystified and tantalized man for centuries. The only orchid that produces an agriculturally valuable crop, vanilla can mask unpleasant tastes and smells, but also makes pleasant tastes stronger, smoother, and longer lasting. Because it has over four hundred separate flavor components, choosing premium vanilla beans is as complex as judging the aroma and taste of fine wine. Vanilla finds its way into over half of all dessert products sold worldwide, as well as the finest perfumes, well-known brands of rum and vodka, and even Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Americans consume more vanilla than anyone else on Earth-a fact that has forced growers and traders to mount armed guard over their plants in the tropical jungle. The traders who travel the world in search of America's favorite flavor are a small and secretive elite. Vanilla is a globetrotting adventure that follows buccaneers, aristocrats, and gourmets, all in search of the ice cream orchid."



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