Making Magic in the Garden

| May 2, 2016 | 0 Comments

 

Members were given box tops and slabs of cardboard, lots of glue, and many items to glue onto our surface in order to envision what we wanted to achieve.

Members were given box tops and slabs of cardboard, lots of glue, and many items to glue onto our surface in order to envision what we wanted to achieve.

Like a whirlwind, Maurice Taitano-Bliss gave the Garden Club’s March presentation. Her passion and enthusiasm for her topic, creating gardens, are contagious. She is convinced that we can all create something from nothing, even though she earns her living by helping people to make creative yet sensible and do-able choices.

The first step in turning your garden into an interesting outdoor living space is to recognize your limits. These are budget, available space, available water, and sunlight. Size and budget don’t matter in creating a fabulous garden. You simply work with what you have. You needn’t feel outdoor living areas need a barbecue, oven, cooktop and fridge. Instead, aim for creating a surprise. If you have a view, you might find the very best spot to look at it. Then create a pathway forcing the viewer to see it only when, where and how you choose. In this case, the view becomes a gift.

Look around you for items that may add to the ambiance of your garden. Stacking chunks of broken concrete can add interest to a garden of vines and hanging plants. A sea glass collection, a piece of a statue, whatever you find, be open-minded. You needn’t include everything in your garden, but a few surprise elements can make the difference between ordinary and magical.

Create a story in your garden. Let your visitors wander a path until they come upon a couple of comfortable chairs and a low table under a tree. You have given them both an element of surprise and a place to sit and think or chat. The chairs need not be perfect. “There is a story in imperfection,” according to Taitano-Bliss.

Anything in your garden that annoys you can be dumped, she continued. If a plant doesn’t thrive, dump it. It is freeing. This includes plants that refuse to thrive. Taitano-Bliss believes in survival of the fittest, but remember, simplicity is the key.

Taitano-Bliss advocates having no more than five kinds of plants in an area. You must discipline yourself; successful gardens are the result of discipline. Sticking plants willy-nilly into the ground at random is not likely to produce a beautiful garden. (I put whatever I like in any spot that’s easy to dig. No wonder my yard is a mess!) Five plants allows each of “them the opportunity to do their thing,” she said. If you have a problem throwing things away, you may want to grow new plants from all your cuttings. However, it is pretty difficult to keep and use everything. You need a sense of discipline.

Everything is “allowable based on what you want and expect,” says Taitano-Bliss . Know what you want and go from there. This is why Taitano-Bliss believes in creating a “story board” much as an interior designer does with fabric and color. Members were given box tops and slabs of cardboard, lots of glue, and many items to glue onto our surface in order to envision what we wanted to achieve. To pursue your vision clearly, you may need to “be coerced in a nice way by a nice person.” This is how Taitano-Bliss earns her living.

In addition to creating gardens, Taitano-Bliss is passionate about cooking. You should be able to eat much of what you grow. “We’re removed from salad dressing,” she says. Yet with a few simple ingredients – oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and fresh garlic– you have a dressing far tastier than those you see in bottles. I believe this and do make my own. I make a basic dressing in the Cuisinart or blender using good olive oil, tarragon vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and fresh chopped garlic. If you add the oil very slowly while rapidly beating the other ingredients, you create an emulsion. By making a large quantity, I have home-made dressing for weeks. If there is no egg or lemon in it, I don’t refrigerate it. Yes, it is work. And so is preparing your garden. In both cooking and gardening, you reap the benefits for a long time.

On Wednesday, May 25 the Garden Club will meet in the daytime. We will be touring the SDG&E Innovation Center, a building of 100 per cent green space. Guests are welcome, but please let Tiger or Martha Pehl know if you are coming and how many guests will attend. They’ll have a lunch for us.

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Barbara Strona is a native Californian who grew up in the Mid-West and Los Angeles. She and her architect husband, Carl, came to San Diego in 1968 and have lived in Mission Hills since early 1971. Barbara received a Bachelor of Arts from Scripps College with a major in English, and a minor in Art. She attended UCLA graduate school and received a General Secondary Credential. She taught English in Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, and at Point Loma High School. She has been a Realtor specializing in residential sales since 1984. Her passions include her job, reading, writing, foreign languages and foreign countries, animals (feathered or furry), theatre, and her family: husband, two adult children and two grandsons.

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