Thursday, April 16, 2015

Southern California Horitculture and Karen England Serve Enthusiasm and Good Taste


Karen serves the eager line with an easy recipe for tasty water freshly run over fresh flowers and citrus slices.
 Karen England was hooked on gardening at the tender age of 12, when she began helping her cousin at  the family business Sunshine Gardens.  She honed additional skills at college, took three intensives at the Ballymaloe Cookery  School. She has provided demonstrations on the wonders of cooking with herbs to guests visiting The Lavender Fields of Valley Center. Teaching how to cook with a single electrical cord in a garden taught her to simplify- a  lesson her admirers appreciate. 

On one side of cards with the names of Herb of the Year
The Year a Herb was designated for honors is on the reverse.
 Karen was also a board member of the International Herb Association and is a current member of the Vista Garden Club. She tends 2 acres of lucky herbs surrounding her home. 

There was no lack of people lining up to taste the samples.
Knowledgeable and enthusiastic, Karen is fairly described as high-energy. People pushed forward to taste the samples and say thank you for the extraordinary effort she went to.


  • English and French Thyme are the same plant. Thymus vulgaris. 
  • Dried lavender- as long as they have scent, they have flavor. The little sachets in your drawers- squeeze 'em from time to time. This releases the oils, revitalizing the space with the scent of fields of flowers in bloom.
  • For a twist on deviled eggs, grind Herb Provence finely to season the yolks.
  • One of the best reasons to grow your own edibles, including herbs to flowers, is you have control how they were grown. The floral stems at the grocery florist- chances are they have been treated with some unpronounceable chemical before being put on display.  Be as organic in your practices as you can. 
  • Sweet Bay (Laurus nobilis)  is similar to California Bay (Umbellularia californica) . The former will grown in most gardens almost unchanged for about 5 years. On the 5th year, it reaches for the moon. The latter is not as refined in taste- but when I was confirming the facts for this post, I  read the blond wood is valued by woodworkers for its fine myrtle lumber.


  • Sweet Bay leaves are delicious simmered in long-cooked oatmeal. WARNING: fish the whole leaves out before you partake. Every year, a few poor souls end up in the ER when a whole leaf gets stuck in the throat.  

SoCal Hort meetings always feature plant sales, with a portion of the proceeds used to support the organization. Some of the recent temptations include


Salvia 'Love Child' 

Dwarf Angel Pelargonium 

Peach tone clivia from Greenwood Gardens

Greenwood Gardens also grows one  of the most pleasing yellow clivias on the market

This tree-form sea lavender, I've only seen it for sale two places. At the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Garden  gift shop- and at SoCal Hort Meetings. 
To learn more about SoCal Hort meetings, where people share the love of gardening, click here.

Until we meet again, Thank YOU for all YOU do to make the world more beautiful.

2 comments:

nikkipolani said...

Ugh. Plant temptations are some of the worst. I'm determined not to harbor a pot ghetto.

Lydia said...

Hi Nikki! I'm hoping the tomatoes in pots keep them out of rabbit-reach. The joys of living in a canyon.