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Garden Photo of the Day

A Healing Garden

California gardener finds restoration in the garden

Today Liz Cordova is welcoming us into her Southern California garden, starting with a beautiful quote:

“And since all this loveliness cannot be Heaven, I know in my heart it is June.” —Abba Woolson

I’ve been gardening for 40 years, 32 of them in Zone 10. My organic garden is the best yet this year, with all the wonderful rains and a very long winter by Southern California standards.

I couldn’t garden for several years. But I’ve been given grace to keep on healing from a severe autoimmune reaction.

So when the weather is perfect, sans Santa Ana winds, and before the bright sun damages my eyes more, I sneak out to quickly garden with goggles over UV polarized sunnies and a UPF hat. I learned to accept help from very dear friends and family to help me prune, water-lay flagstones or bricks, or dig.

I call this my All Season Garden, and now it’s a healing garden, as it continues to heal my soul and body as I meditate and I meander in the garden every early morning even before the sun slants in my eyes. The harvests of juicy Valencia, CaraCara, and Mandarin oranges, the hefty harvest of Fuyu persimmons (18 grocery bags full last fall), and the huge sweet pomeloes and heirloom tomatoes have made friends and family so happy.

Last month I started another edible garden, with different basils, parsleys, eggplant, artichoke, and ball zucchini, with a Provence lavender in the middle skirted with marigolds and sweet alyssum.

Monarch on asclepsias (Asclepias curassavica, Zones 9–11)

The rose ‘Pierre de Ronsard’ up the teak arbor meets the Goldflame honeysuckle (Lonicera × heckrottii ‘Goldflame’, Zones 5–9) on the right.

A honeybee sleeps on the job on this Austin rose, ‘Princess of Kent’.

The English rose ‘Wollerton Hall’ mingles with blue geranium ‘Rozanne’ (Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Zones 5–8).

A riot of color is formed by Andean sage (Salvia discolor, Zones 9–11) with silver sticky branches and pendulous purplish black flowers that hummingbirds love, hardy blue geranium, firecracker plant (Cuphea ignea, Zones 8–11)—which may need to go, as its wild loud colors don’t go with my soft colors—goldflame honeysuckle up the metal trellis, and a peach daylily starting to bloom.

‘Scepter’d Isle’ Austin rose

An English rose—not sure which one, since I lost the tag.

My square-foot edible garden contains basils, flat and curly parsley, Chinese eggplant, blue kales, artichoke, and ball zucchini.

We’ve even had beautiful moments of tea in the garden.

 

Have a garden you’d like to share?

 

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Comments

  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 06/17/2019

    I am so glad that you have such supportive and helpful friends and family who help you in tending your beautiful garden. With so many soft and serene colors, it does look like heaven on earth. In fact, it could be argued that the bold orange tones of the firecracker plant are a reminder that life on terra firma can be lively and surprising. Best wishes for continued success in maintaining your recovery and enjoy your healing garden.

  2. paiya 06/17/2019

    I firmly believe that, among many other reasons to enjoy gardening, it heals the body and soul. It is good to read that it is helping your recovery Liz. Your garden is full of beautiful plants but my favorite is the ‘Scepter’d Isle‘ rose. I like the contrast of the cuphea with the sage. Cara Cara oranges are my favorite orange.

  3. User avater
    SimpleSue 06/17/2019

    Wow! You had me at the arch over the walkway with the roses and honeysuckle- then add the iron table and chairs- so beautifully set for tea - what a gorgeous garden scene!
    I was curious what does "water-lay" mean, pertaining to flagstones/bricks? As for your unfortunate situation of having to deal with an autoimmune disease- it has not prevented you from creating an amazing garden that is going to give you all the positive vibes you need to stay as healthy as one can be in dealing with such a thing. Even some hospitals are putting in gardens and recognizing the positive feeling people get from them, and that a positive state of mind is good for the physical body. I know my own garden always lifts my spirits from the pain of having broken my ankle 3 years ago. Suffering and pain fall to the background of one's mind when surrounded by the fragrance of flowers and the sounds of the garden. Thanks for sharing your story and gorgeous garden with us other gardeners.

  4. BTucker9675 06/17/2019

    What a lovely space you and your friends have created - the roses are particularly wonderful. I wish you continued healing and peace.

  5. carolcowee 06/17/2019

    Absolutely gorgeous. One advantage of living in So Cal, gardening! Hope you belong to a Rose Society!

  6. cwalda 06/17/2019

    Your garden is just gorgeous.

  7. PatinMapleValley 06/17/2019

    Beautiful gardens, and so inspiring! I am also curious about the term "water lay". Can anyone enlighten us?

  8. cheryl_c 06/17/2019

    Learning to not only accept help from friends, but to request it, knowing that both the giver and receiver are blessed, is a valuable life lesson that we all have had to learn. Your garden is a very special place - your lovely setting for tea won my heart right from the start. Thank you for sharing your beauteous life lessons as well as your photos. Blessings on your healing!

  9. carolineyoungwilliams 06/18/2019

    Liz, your garden is beautiful. I can see why it is considered a healing garden...to you and everybody else too. To begin and end your day in this beautiful garden is the perfect way to fellowship with God. Not only were you given grace, it looks like you've been given favor.....Thank you for sharing your gift.

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