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Garden Scents, Garden Work
A Walk in Jeanne Rose's Garden


Garden Bench I • • •

If I sit here on the garden bench, I can see the back of my house. I can see the entire rear of the house which is a four story building made from one Redwood tree as they did in those days (the early 1900s). There is this painting on the back of the house called the Lost City, and then on the next level beneath the Lost City is the rainforest and then down below that again, is the woman on the motorcycle which you can't really see clearly from here as it is hidden by the railing. The stained glass windows at the peak of the house are really beautiful. They are two colorful windows of Cattails and Iris, unfortunately marred with a hole made by a LaCrosse ball. I sit here on the bench, to my right is the Rosemary, behind me is the Musk Rose Kathleen

 To my left is the Alchymist Rose, a 15 foot climber with large, profuse peach-colored blossoms. Alchymist blooms best on last years branches. It has been known since 1956. I can sit here on the moon pad [brick pad] at night and the fragrant garden is very ethereal, it's magical.

Alchemist Rose in center rear yard

The wind chimes from Bali and the chimes of Greece resound gently in the breeze. There's birds and birds and birds in this garden. There's mourning doves and finches, it's filled with the sound of birds. The fragrance of the garden lifts up off the earth and fills the air with scents of Rose, Honeysuckle, Wisteria, Lilac, the earthy scents, the fruity scents of the Pelargonium, the herby scents of Sage, Mugwort, Artemisia arborescens, Pennyroyal. When you walk through the garden the paths are narrow, so the garden touches you on either side, every time it touches you it leaves its scent upon you. I have two large dogs, they seem to be happy here, too. They don't bark. My dogs just simply don't bark. Large dogs in normal life would bark at any intrusion. They don't bark. You can sit here in the garden and you can hear the city but you can also be quiet inside and meditate and hear only the sounds of the chimes, the sound of the wind in the leaves and inhale the fragrance that rises all up about you. 

Here I am sitting at the back of the garden and in front of my curved fence. All of the fences in my garden are curved. It lends a cloud-like effect. The Redwood is aged Redwood and it's all huge big curves at the back. I did this because I do have big dogs and I didn't want them to jump out of the garden which they could easily do. So I am standing here and I am looking down at the Wallflowers (Cheiranthus cheiri) which are yellow, honey-scented flowers. Wallflowers can be infused as used in massage oils and drunk as tea for the health of muscles and sinews. Garden Sage is on my left and is beginning to flower. Its good for physical exertion. California poppy grows well and can be taken for a headache. A pottery cat is filled with soft Thyme spreading out of it. Here is a bulbous pot from Mexico with Rue, there are more different types of Sage in the flue tiles, a goddess sculpture from India, a marble freize against the wall showing an Inca person with a pot of Coca leaves in her lap, the Alchymist Rose, which is huge and spreading Rose is here. Alchymist is excellent in potpourris and bodycare products. 

Rock Walk J • • •West Side 

There are also three big pots of the sweet flower Dianthis caryophyllus species called Sops-in-Wine because it was once used in wine for flavor. It is also called Gillyflower. This plant was named for its scent and comes from the Mediæval Latin for a Greek word "clove" which takes us straight back to the scent of the members of this fragrant family, which is clove-scented, the Caryophyllaecæ family. It is a cinnamon-scented flower and sweet and tasty in salads. It has a lovely little Lavender-pink flower. I am stepping into the west side walk, the rock walk. It's all rocks that were collected in Northern California, separated by Cedar logs that were hand-cut by a friend.

There is Heliotrope (Heliotrope officinalis) in a flue tile to my left. Heliotrope is purple and smells like "Cherry-Pie." In folklore the Heliotrope is the symbolic flower of August. Heliotrope is a name that comes from Clytie pining away for love of Apollo as she watched his chariot move across the sky from dawn to dusk. She was turned into this fragrant flower as a memorial to her devotion. 

Nasturtium on west side of garden

I see that the Nasturtium is beginning to bloom and I use them as a type of capers. I also use Nasturtium as an antibacterial to eat for coughs and colds. It has anti-viral action also. There is also another Rosa eglanteria. Rosa eglanteria produces lots of tasty rose-hips in the fall that we use for cough syrups or just to eat for the vitamin C content. I am passing the Lavender circle and have come now to this 4 foot hedge of Rose Geranium, Pelargonium graveolens which I have had distilled for their hydrosol. Twice a year I cut it and send it to the distiller. The hydrosol is very, very nice as a facial mister to clear and cleanse the skin. This is one of the plants that borders the so-called meadow. 

To my right now is the meadow with Calendula, Yarrow, Poppy and Sage and a few other different kinds of plants. The meadow being only barely 7 feet wide and 8 feet long. It's a very small place but it holds many wonderful plants.

To my left as I walk towards the house is a Wintersweet tree Osmanthus fragrans. It's very big, probably 10 to 14 feet tall with tiny sweetly, fragrant flowers and with a Pelargonium tomentosum growing in it, all the way to the top, which means that this particular peppermint-scented Geranium is also 14 feet tall. It's huge!

We also use the Peppermint Geranium in the distillation. It's also a culinary plant.


Rock Walk J • • •

And, going down one more step on the right Rosa gallica officinalis, the Apothecary Rose known since before 1300, used for medicine and attar, a large Moss Rose, Salet, known since 1854. The real odor of musk is found only in Salet. The oil glands on the calyx and stems also secrete the odor and cut blossoms will perfume your hands. Rosa centifolia is pink, an antique rose. Beautiful roses, which are very fragrant and lovely. One more step down and there is a sculpture to my left, which is called The Gate or Taos, and it is at the base of the Liquidamber tree. My favorite whimsical sculptress Louise McGinley also did this. This is a shady area and includes Costmary in the sunnier part and Woodruff, Lemon Balm, and Columbine that has great therapeutic use in the shadier parts, and a plant that I can only say is decorative. Here is a plant that I can only say is decorative. I do not know what it is, but it is lovely with pendulous white bell-shaped flowers. 

To my right begins the small flue tiles that go in a half circle around the base of this particular part of the garden. In front of me is a pad of Redwood bark. 

The flue tiles are in a half circle around the right. The flue tiles in the sun parts include Chamomiles, Peppermints, and in the shady parts, there are succulents, Blind Nettle, Woodruff, and other plants. In my garden are two areas that I call herb gardens, garden areas where I cultivate the culinary herbs. 

The one nearest the house is the area that I plant every year for winter. Everything is deciduous in this garden so in the winter this is a real sunny spot. This is the winter herb garden. Around the Lavender circle at the rear are the herbs in pots called the summer herb garden.

Cobblestone area K • • •

As I walk off the Redwood bark pad I walk into the oldest part of the walkway, and there are more medicinal ferns here of various types. When I moved in, I had to dig down to find the path. It is made out of 6 x 6 inch cobblestones that were from the street in front of the house from the time when they changed the street from cobblestones to asphalt. 

Jeanne Rose, San Francisco, CA,
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