And All That Jasmine


Whenever I go to my house in Palm Springs, I spend a fair amount of the time picking up leaves and dropped hibiscus flowers; checking the status of fruit on the fig, pomegranate, orange and lemon trees; pruning and trimming; and giving my foster children a boost of nutrition (except for the cactus, palms and ficus that say, “Miracle-Gro? No thanks, I’m good.”)

In San Diego, I’ve been on enough garden tours this spring to inspire me to bring a bit of life to my life in an apartment. Besides, I have decided that the balcony needs a bit of “softening up.”

Coleus, impatiens and hydrangeas were recommended by those whose counsel I sought. But I love the fragrance of jasmine, and I’m unable to grow it in Palm Springs. I planted jasmine where lantana not only had thrived, but also had seized control for my lack of cutting it back (I liked the way the pretty purple-pink flowers crept up a stone wall and even the way they covered the landscaping rock I had paid for and spread myself). Then the desert experienced a very rare freeze, and the part of the lantana closest to the root system never recovered. So it had to go. I believe I actually heard the adjacent orange tree emit a sigh of relief when it did.

I do not recall what I planted there next. Whatever it was, it didn’t last long. Then came the jasmine. It lives, but feebly, refusing to flower or even show the slightest sign that it has any intention of doing so in my lifetime.

So yesterday after work, I stopped at a nursery with visions of jasmine dancing in my head. But the nursery did not have containers with railing hangers, so my jasmine shopping was circumvented. Then I found myself eyeing other attractive flowers and being overwhelmed in much the same way I am overwhelmed by the sheer array of cereals, toothpastes and detergents in grocery stores. When I found myself looking at statuaries, banners, fountains and other garden paraphernalia, I knew it was time to retreat.

This morning, I met SDHG/L’s photographer, Marty Mann, at the San Diego Botanic Garden to scout a location for a photo shoot for our 2013 Chefs Hall of Fame. As we toured the grounds, as impractical as I realized it was, I couldn’t help but think how nice it would be to have a fig tree from India or a forest of bamboo of my own.

In addition to being awed by the plethora of beautiful and intriguing plants, I also was taken by the “interplanted” sculptures. The park was just finishing up with installation of its annual exhibition of works. They are available for purchase, and I saw one I would love to own. But I really think I need to focus here.

This weekend, I’ll be back on the hunt for planters and jasmine. 

Janice Kleinschmidt

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