Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Still Crazy? Not Now!

The majestic meadow at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is dotted with my beloved California poppies

So how do I keep from going crazy when I have to leave San Luis Obispo and journey to Los Angeles?

I take a great break along the way and visit the GORGEOUS Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, which is truly rising from the ashes of the devastating Jesucita fire that roared through the grounds. I took many classes at SBBG and still return there for special lectures, walks, and classes whenever possible. They also have a wonderful gift shop with everything a plant lover could desire.

And, how do I get back down to earth after filming gardening segments all afternoon in L.A.? I GARDEN, in my own little yard with fabulous organic plants from one of my favorite mail order sources Mountain Valley Growers. Honestly, you can't find a better selection of organics that are shipped than those from Mountain Valley. Not one of the dozens of plants arrived with any damage.

Vanilla grass-who could resist ordering this? I'll have to experiment with it a few times before writing about it, but if it retains its vanilla fragrance when dried, perhaps it can go into my edible flower seasoning mix or into a pot pourri

Here's what I'm doing...planting a sinuous pathway of scented pelargoniums that will greet guests at our front gate and entice them up the pathway with their diverse aromas: apricot, ginger, lime, lemon, Rober's Lemon Rose, and so many more. Yum. I had a pathway like that at my old Heart's Ease store, and my visitors loved the natural perfume of these stalwart, old-fashioned plants.

Oh, wow, I feel rich. I have a couple dozen of these scenteds, and they have grown an inch and a half in the past two weeks

These have many common names, but they are calaminthas, and I am wild for their fragrance and taste. I learned a few years ago that in Italy they are called mentha de funghi or mentha de porcini (which is simply another mushroom), and they are great with cooked mushroom dishes

Here's the BEFORE shot of the future fragrant pathway. All you can see now is the thyme lawn and the wooden plant stakes, but in a couple of months, there will be a magical transformation.

Traveling was fun, but it is so great to be back home.

Simple joys,



Erin | Bygone Living said...

Your plans sound wonderful♥

Terra said...

I can see how you could not resist the fragrant pelargoniums, and to put them along the walk to your house is very welcoming.
Vanilla grass is new to me. I will check back to see how your plantings grow.

Carol said...

Sounds so yummy I can almost smell it now.

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Lucky you! Maybe some day soon! It doesn't feel like it as the wind is howling outside and the snow is coming down again!

farmlady said...

It's always so good to come back home after being away.It's a fragrance of place.
Well..,I must know you from your books and the writing in Country Living Gardener. I still think there might be a connection otherwise.

rebecca Sweet said...

I love reading about new plants and can't wait to hear more about your Vanilla sounds dreamy! As do your plans for your scented walkway...such an inspiring post - thank you, once again!

Zuzana said...

I have once visited Santa Barbara end loved it. I wanted to live there. It feels like a dream now...
It is infinitely lovely to see pictures of plants and a climate of sun and warmth.;)
I absolutely love your last sentence, I feel this way too.
Have a lovely Friday,

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Vanilla grass sounds wonderful! There is no place like home and your own lovely fragrant gardens. I look forward to seeing more pictures as the season rolls along.


Storybook Woods said...

Are you going to be on tv? How fun is that. Vanilla grass, I have never heard of that. I will check it out. Ahhh these plants make me miss CA. Have a yummy day Clarice

Kay's flowers said...

It'll be fun to hear how vanilla grass is. I love that fragrance. I also love scented geraniums. That's a great idea for your walk. Have a great weekend!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Ok, I've also received a few e-mails about vanilla grass so I promise to update you when I have discovered its attributes.



Mozart's Girl said...

Scented walkways...mmm...I had a lavender pathway last year & hope to again, the rragrances as you brush past on a hot summer afternoon....heavenly! Yours sounds just wonderful, dear Sharon. Thank you for sharing your sunlight with us all! xox Rachel

Lori ann said...

dear Sharon,
oh I LOVE the botanic gardens. when the fire roared through last year there was a collective sigh of sadness here in santa barbara county. i am so glad it's coming back. i too love to go whenever i get the chance, and i love that bookstore so much.
last year i took a class at santa barbara city college in natural history and one of our assignments took place at the gardens, i spent the entire day on a one hour task. joyfully!
and oh how i love the california poppy too.
those scented geraniums are going to be a treat, lucky to have a pathway to line!

Hindsfeet said...

Always wonderful coming back home...Good for the soul, good for you, Sharon : )

We have some beautiful botanical gardens near where I live; I go often...Lewis Ginter Botanical coming up for air perusing those lovely paths...

Thanks for This little path of yours here...Can't wait to hear how the plot thickens with the Vanilla Grass! : )

softearthart said...

Hi I love the English "Country Living " magazine, I get it from my local library here in New Zealand. Cheers Marie

koralee said...

Oh ...I can't wait to get out in my garden....enjoy! Welcome home...Vanilla grass sounds lovely.

Anonymous said...

You are naming some of my favourite plants in this great post1 Stpring is literally on our doorstep and our plants have come in everywhere, the nurseries, the garden centres....they smell en look wonderful and my hands are restless, waiting to dig and snip and touch the earth! I also plant every year all these fragrant pelargoniums...pineapple, peppermin, lemon, them! And the California poppy...blooming alreay?

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon~~ As a self-professed home body, home and garden are my favorite places on the planet.

An apricot-scented pelargonium?? Now there's one I gotta have!!

I look forward to the after photos. I bet it will be pure heaven.

Morwenna Hill said...

Gosh it all sounds absolutely lovely Sharon and I cannot wait to se teh after photos
Love Morwenna xo

Kathryn Zbrzezny said...

Hi! Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comment on my Blog! I love your Blog, and I have always loved old Cary Grant movies, Country Living Magazine, and herb gardens! I have never heard of vanilla grass. I must have some! Mmmmmmm ~Kathy

Suzanne said...

I always say I could never leave New England for I love the change of seasons too much, but when I visit here I think I could get used to CA and all the beautiful scenery pretty fast:-)

Aunt Jenny said...

Oh sounds like it will smell wonderful..I can just picture that wonderful path! Can't wait to see updates! Vanilla Grass! How wonderful is that!? Never heard of it..but I will be looking for it! I always find different stuff here though. I need to make a plant shopping trip back home,don't I????? Thanks for the wonderful post~!

5orangepotatoes said...

Oooooh, scented geraniums are my favorite! I have a too overwintering in my living room. Vanilla grass sounds wonderful.
Love your books!