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


Anthyrium felix-femina

Dryopteris felix-mas

Phyllitus scolopendri 

Fernary L • • • West side

Now when I go to the left, it's another circle, and I am going down the little 6 foot wide alley between the laundry room and the fence that borders my property. I call this the fern garden. It is 6 feet wide and 12 feet long. There is Dryopteris felix-mas undulata robusta that grows to three feet. It's called Lucky Hands, and it has very powerful uses. The oil is used from the rhizome as a vermifuge. It is taken to kill tapeworms. It is good for the dogs and I can give it to them when needed. There is also King's Fern that supposedly throws seed on Midsummer Eve. If you collect the seeds, you could become invisible. I have watched Kings Fern for 20 years but have yet to become invisible. Here is Osmunda regalis, the Royal Fern that requires very acid, very wet soil. Ferns are wonderful plants, magical plants with many fantastical uses.

There is another small pond; this one in a barrel, a fountain of three frogs spitting water resides here. Here is a collection of my shells from my old days when I was a marine biologist. The fountain is nice and noisy and you can hear it from inside the house. It includes a frog spouting water and nearby is two King's Ferns.

Nearby is Phyllitus scolopendri which is called Harts' Tongue and grows to about 12" x 12". This is used medicinally as are all the ferns here. It needs limestone to prosper. Dioscorides used it for its astringent property as a remedy for dysentery. Externally, it is a quick remedy for burns, scalds, eruptions and wounds. The leaves are used raw and bruised. 

Bleeding heart is here as is the base of the Cιcile Brunner Rose. The base of this Rose is 8 inches across, then it divides into two large 3 inch in diameter branches that wind all the way up and around, all the way up to the top of the house and into next door's garden.

As I go down this small area, on my right are various types of ferns and Christmas Rose. Two Australian Ferns mark the end of the Fernary. On the left are a variety of Maidenhair ferns including Adiantum pedantum and Adiantum capillas-veneris. Adiantum pedantum is used in Canada in place of tea for consumption, and for coughs and pectoral diseases. Adiantum capillas-veneris is called true Maidenhair. It is a pectoral and is used for pulmonary catarrh. There is also Pellaea rotundifolia that uses the oyster shell, as it needs calcareous soil. Now I have to turn around with my back to the fern garden. 

D & K • • • Cobblestone area & Garden entry 

To my left is the Jasmine that grows up to the top of the roof of the house. I am going across the cobblestone area again, across the bricked area, sitting down on the redwood bench that looks into the garden. One of my most precious sitting spots. There are two 4x4 posts to my right at the edge of the Cobblestones that hold up the porch and both of them have purple Wisteria growing around the posts and twining up to the third floor of the back of the house.

You can hear birds, you can see bugs in the air, the fragrance is extremely lovely, the garden whispers, calls to you, asking you to walk through it. There are ladybugs, Pansies that I can see, the lush sunlight laces down through the Lilac tree glistening on the Artemisia arborescens. I can see blossoms of Rosa damascena bifera, which is an ancient Rose. It is called Rose of Castille and produces a fine Rose essential oil. It is brilliant pink and open. I can see Rosa gallica. Everything is just growing now. 

The blue flowers called Forget-Me-Not are just about ready to stop looking lovely and will all have to be pulled out which will leave room for the rest of the plants in the meadow to really get big. The Marshmallow (Malva officinalis) that I see near the flue tiles of the Winter herb garden is growing very well. 

Again, I can hear the sound of the chimes, I can hear the flight of the bees, I can hear the trolley car going in front of the house, and I can hear the birds eating. I have really enjoyed this trip through my garden. It is very precious, and if you are a student of the Aromatherapy or Herbal Studies Course, you can come visit any time you care and have a tour of the garden. 

Ecology • • •

Sweet Flowering Almond - this is the tree that I grew up with. It was in the backyard in Antioch and housed tent caterpillars, lots of sweet flowers and delicious Almonds. Our house was the first house built in what used to be an Almond orchard. When I grew up there were still Almond trees everywhere

My garden was planted to be very drought tolerant. All the plants that need water are in flue tiles that are buried in the garden around the edges of the path. That way, we only need to water the plants that are in the flue tiles possibly once a week. Sometimes more. It rarely gets hot here in San Francisco, but when it does, we need to water twice a week. In addition, there are areas where there is open dirt, and my Wolfie dog, she is a Siberian Huskie loves to dig holes, and she is allowed to dig holes, basically craters. It really softens up the dirt, all I have to do is shovel the dirt back into the holes, and it makes a great planting spot. It is not that I am lazy; it is just that I would rather enjoy the garden rather than doing backbreaking labor. We do not have any weeds to speak of. It has never been sprayed. No poison has ever been put into this ground or onto the plants. We have not in 34 years (since 1970) that I have lived here nor in the 75 years preceding my arrival have poisoned nor sprayed.

Deep watering is done once every couple of weeks, only as needed. The flue tiles and the potted things are watered every couple of days as needed. It is very drought tolerant as I said. Twice a year I need to hire help. His name is Greg Albert, the Garden Angels or Zach Thurston. They are garden helpers and come through twice, near Mid-summer and just before Spring to clean, sweep, and really spend two days cleaning up the garden, tidying up. We trim; we do all the things that are necessary. I listen and watch my neighbor next door who arduously mows his lawn once a week. He spends more time on one patch of lawn than I do on this gracious, lively, scented, fragrant, working garden that has existed since from 1970. In addition, occasionally I will put a bag of bat guano in the soil. I have done that twice in 25 years. 

Twice, I have put in bags of earthworms. This was a working garden so things were cut and harvested, made into shampoos, vinegars, and all sorts of things; bruise juice, cosmetic creams and lotions. The herbal leftovers, that is, the marc, all the things that have been boiled or cooked, we put back into the ground as mulch. It is extremely fertile soil here and the only so-called weed that I might have is Oxalis that is pulled out twice a year. So there is very little maintenance. Here is a garden to enjoy, whose leaves and flowers are used in all ways for the health and beauty of my family and friends. 

Also, unfortunately, I planted one small plant of Yellow Buttercup in 1970 for historical interest called Ranunculus acris, because it was used by beggars in the Medieval ages to cause sores and burns on the skin. The beggars would show you their sores and you would feel sorry and give them money. This one plant of Ranunculus has spread throughout the garden and needs to be extirpated at least once a year. It is not a lot, but it is enough to bother me. And as I said, there are no weeds but there are snails. I remove them by what I call the snail hop dance on moonlit summer nights. I walk outside at midnight when they are all sitting in the middle of the path. I pick them up, walk over them, dance around, and act silly. The garden is a positive delight to be in and is extremely easy to take care of. 

The garden has wonderful sounds and fragrance. Each plant has a different feel and touching stimulates the senses of touch and feeling. I can graze through the garden nibbling and tasting all the flavors of the world. Eating flowers is a profound emotional experience. It is eating fragrance. So come along, walk, taste and smell this wondrous place.

Jeanne Rose in her Wedding outfit, 1972

The Source of Vichy Bubbling Carbonated Waters

The Covered Bridge to the Vichy Hot Spring Tubs

A Vichy Tub filling 

View of the San Francisco Bay Bridge from the Ferry Market Plaza

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