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SHARING SECRETS: ...Of The Traveling Plants

Edited by Cathy Tylka, for Let's Talk Plants! February 2022.

This Month's Question: What plants did you add to your gardens after traveling that remind you of your travels? And where did you find it originally?

Ida Rigby
Ida Rigby's rose 'Parade'!

Ida Rigby of 92064, shares:

Gardens are about so many memories; grandparents’ gardens, childhood gardens, and yes, travels.

Sometime around 1999 I visited the Roseraie de l’haye just outside Paris and fell in love with the rose 'Parade'. I found her and she still climbs tall. My antique Damask rose brings back memories of Turkey's fields of roses cultivated for perfume.

Ida Rigby's antique Damask rose.

Plantings of grevilleas, callistemons and plants with strange red flowers beloved of hummingbirds were inspired by botanical gardens in Australia. I tried Proteas after visiting the Fynbos outside Cape Town, total failures (drainage I am sure), but a few Leucadendrons still remind me of that landscape. The Arbutus unedo planted after a botanical tour of Sardinia evokes images of hillsides sloping down to the sea, if only in my mind’s eye. I planted a calamondin after a trip to Vietnam during the Lunar New Year as the closest reminder I could find of small, orange fruited citrus trees (probably Calamondins) used to celebrate the holiday. Profusely covered with their small orange fruit, they were lined up for sale along roadsides or more dramatically belted to bicycles and motorcycles in white and yellow porcelain ceramic bowls being delivered to decorate homes and doorways for the New Year. We are so lucky in San Diego, we can grow everything, from South Africa to Vietnam (and I know some of you push those limits even farther!).

Ida Rigby
Ida Rigby's Leucadendron.


Vince Lazaneo of 92126 responded:

We bought a Lemon Spice Rose after seeing one in the Santa Barbara Rose Garden some years ago. It has a sweet lemon-like fragrance from when the bud opens until the flower fades.

Vince Lazaneo's Lemon Spice rose.


Bridgette Webster of 92111 recalls:

French radish seeds from my home country. They are long, thin, red and white. No garden picture as they are all eaten.


Patrice Makovic, 92118 reports:

I lived in Italy for twenty plus years and so of course when I came back to San Diego, I had to plant rosemary. I also grew to love loquats which are very common in my region, Umbria, so I just planted a loquat tree in my garden. Chard, fava beans, and lots of tomatoes, both staples in the Mediterranean diet, are added to my garden each season.


Cathy Tylka of 92026 says:

While on vacation near Cannondale, Utah, I saw some beautiful flowers in a water sewage ditch. I had to find out what they were and it happens, they are Cleomella serrulare, also known as Rocky Mountain Bee Plant. I was able to get seeds from Etsy. The flower that I saw was purple, but they bloom in many colors . . . They basically need nothing from humans but to be left alone. Here’s hoping mine bloom!


Karen England, of 92084 recalls:

Karen England
Lavender in the National Botanic Garden, Dublin, Ireland, July 2004.

In 2004, while in the herb garden at the National Botanic Garden in Dublin, Ireland, I saw a unique lavender that I was unable to get identified while there. I wanted to show it to my boss at the time, Ellen, at The Lavender Fields of Valley Center, so I took its picture with the point and shoot camera I'd stolen from my dad prior to my trip. Then in 2011 or 12, while shopping at Green Thumb in San Marcos, I found a similar lavender called "Blueberry Ice" and I bought the only one they had. I did not take cuttings or give cuttings from it as I was sure the plant was probably patented. It grew and flourished near my front door for several years before up and croaking for no apparent reason. I have not found another since. But I have looked . . . There is a 'blueberry ice' bougainvillea, obviously not what I'm looking for, and there is a 'blueberry ruffles' lavender, which is nothing like the one I lost. As a result of this experience, I made a note to self - in the future I will make cuttings and try to propagate them so that I don't lose a special plant of which I have only one.

Karen England
"Blueberry Ice" lavender flourishing in Karen England's garden. This lavender died inexplicably and is sorely missed and yet to be replaced.


Cathy Tylka, RN, retired Emergency Nurse, found her love of plants and the SDHS merge many years ago. Cathy acted as Treasurer for the organization and volunteer for many activities. Now, more than happy to assist in gathering questions to ask you in the Sharing Secrets area of the Newsletter.


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