While celebrating all the mothers lately, both near and far, I've been reflecting a lot on my late mother, Patsy who passed away 24 years ago. And, I've been digging deep into the memory banks to explore the many things she helped open my eyes to. She loved nature, especially flowers and gardening. The garden that she created at our family home was her pride and joy...it was a classic English country garden and she and my dad added a vegetable plot at the end of it where I learned the powerful and grounding gift of growing our own food. These last few weeks, Jeffrey and I have been taking some time in the evenings and weekends to reimagine an area of our garden that has been neglected over the years. We built off existing citrus trees and rosemary bushes and now have ourselves a fledgling kitchen garden. And it feels like coming full circle for me. So, what better day than today to mark this garden as the beginning of an annual ritual where we'll stop what we're doing and head to this space to toast my mama, Jeffrey's and all the mothers out there who've opened our eyes and minds to so many beautiful gifts that we shepherd on through our lifetimes and hopefully future generations too.
Before we began creating our kitchen garden, we had to revive some old garden beds and enrich the sun baked soil. We planted arugula, cilantro, basil, green beans, spinach, chives, thyme, strawberries, blueberries, jalapeños, tomatillos and tomatoes. Since we live in a canyon surrounded by wildlife, we put up bird netting using bamboo sticks and clay pots. Fingers crossed this keeps the critters out!
Part of the fun has been learning how to breathe new life into some older plants and trees that have been neglected. We have wisteria growing along the house right as you enter the garden. It's the prettiest when it blooms in the spring and the smell is heavenly. We've also been reviving old citrus and avocado trees.
Aside from edible plants, we also wanted our garden space to feel like a sanctuary. We created gravel pathways that are easy to navigate and planted low maintenance ground cover, succulents and flowers. With the help of some sun shades, the whole area has come to life and we can't wait to cook up some dishes in a couple of months with the food we've planted.
To add some randomness to the orderliness of the beds, I used Push Garden's Pollinator Blends, which have a curated selection of perennial wildflower seeds. I'm excited to see what comes up and they attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
We already have rosemary, sage and thyme in the garden, but knew we wanted to expand our herb collection so decided to add spearmint to the mix. It's lovely steeped in tea, added to summer salads, or better yet, in a refreshing cocktail... and Jeffrey had just the thing....
To celebrate Mother's Day, I picked some of our fresh mint and Jeffrey mixed up Mint Julips, which is made with his favorite liquor, bourbon. And as the weather warms up, this is the perfect way to enjoy it! We found a great and simple recipe in Cocktail Codex: rub the inside of a highball glass with the mint leaves, and fill half way with crushed ice. Add two ounces of your favorite bourbon, a 1/4 tsp of simple syrup, and stir. Fill the glass with more crushed ice, top with the mint leaves and drink with a straw (Jeffrey likes to stir in the mint leaves for an extra minty punch).
To go with our cocktails, Jeffrey whipped up a couple of his homemade salsas (see recipes here) that we learned to make while on a getaway to Mexico last year. It will be fun to revisit them later in the summer using fresh tomatoes, tomatillos and cilantro from our garden.
Although this has been a difficult time, I'm thankful for the opportunity it has given me to reflect. I look forward to spending the day in my garden and kicking off this new Mother's Day ritual. I will be thinking of you all and wishing you a Happy Mother's Day.
You always inspire me xo
So beautifully & interestingly written !
Thank you for sharing!