Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Life’s meaning is written in the beauty of a canyon wall. It is heard in the voice of a chirping sparrow. It is felt in the soft coolness of a lawn, laying on your back on a hot summer day. God’s love is tasted in the warm sweetness of a peach picked fresh from a tree in the backyard.
There is a natural order to living that transcends all linguistic borders.
It is a law of nature that as your skill grows in any activity, your love for it grows. That love will drive your skill to levels you dare not dream. So it is in sports. So it is in love. So it is with language. And so it is with gardening.
First we observe. Read God’s handwriting on the landscape. Diamond Bar is a magnificent setting of intrinsic beauty inlaid in the bosomy hills of eastern Los Angeles County. In the distance, the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains display creation’s full majesty. The Puente –Chino hillsides reflect back the sun’s golden sheen in shades of undulating amber, while holding us in snug safety from urban ills.
The emerald green of our golf course and thousands of mature trees offer visual respite from the searing summer sun. Our gardens are the individual gemstones which we choose to reflect our values.
Then we engage. It doesn’t matter so much how one starts to garden as it is that one begins. What we write with seed, stone and sod is horticultural penmanship. Our gardens are an international language needing no translation. Our neighbors will read our thoughts, so write the story with authenticity. Love the mountains- plant a pine tree. Are you a romantic at heart- plant roses.
Love to entertain- fill in blank spots with herbs, Nothing will improve your cooking so much or so easily as using fresh herbs.
Cross the bridge from garden to table. The ubiquitous society garlic- the little lavender flowers make a lovely replacement for garlic on garlic toast. Michael Chiarello- of Food Network fame and founder of NapaStyle- recently shared how he would love more people to include lemon verbena in our home gardens.
Lemon verbena is a wispy tender perennial bush with fingerling leaves packing a lemony scent. Michael loves how the leaves make a dish more memorable by brightening the flavor. Poultry, fish, vegetable, tea infusions and dressings can all benefit.
With high energy prices and concerns about food safety, planting fruit, vegetables and herbs is not just visually rewarding, it is cost-wise and health wise.
Until next month, I wish literally, you enjoy good taste from your garden.
This is a reprint of my 2008 July column "From Lydia's Garden" which appears monthly in the longest running publication where I live, Diamond Bar, California . The Windmill article was originally run with a sidebar including pertinent information. The photos were not published with the printed article.
Thank you to editor Mina Ynzunza for her continued support and encouragement.
Thank you to photographer Gene Sasse for permission to use the top photo of Slot Canyon. Thank YOU for reading.