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


Meadow F • • •

To the right is a half dozen or so very large and tall Foxgloves reaching up into the Lilac tree and as I walk along to my right is the meadow filled with Marguerites, Calendulas, Poppies, Sage, Yarrow, and another very large 7 foot Angelica that is just about ready for the seeds to be collected. I can make a tincture from it for women's treatments. I have already made an infused distillate that has powerful uses for treating women with hormonal insufficiencies. 

In the meadow to my right, there is also another sundial. This particular sundial marks the Autumn Equinox because it is in the full sun just about that time in the Autumn. It is a real good time for full sun. Let us see what else do we have? 

The meadow and in all places of the garden there is Myosotis spp. or Forget-Me-Not. They make the garden all blue in the spring and through the summer.

I see Lavenders to my right and I see the only original plant of the garden NOW, immediately to my right. It was in the garden when I moved here. It is a huge fern, a California type fern and it marks almost the direct center of the garden in almost all directions, the garden being approximately 75 feet long and 25 feet wide. The fern is right smack in the middle here just back of the "Meadow" with the winding path to the left of it. As I said the house was built in 1902, so this fern is very old.


Lavender/Rose Geranium • • • Circle D

To my right is the 8-foot circular Lavender circle which now is really a Lavender nursery because half of the Lavenders were only recently put in. My old Lavenders were removed after 8 years, they were getting somewhat rooty and I needed to put in more of the essential oil chemotype type Lavenders. Therefore, these Lavenders are quite small. There is white rock at the bottom of the circle because it will reflect light and encourage Lavender formation. Also a Gazing ball on a pedestal is directly in the exact center of the Lavender Circle. It too is to the right as I walk along.

Rear Yard H • • •

If I continue up one step, getting out from under the Lemon Verbena, there is Mugwort, Comfrey, and ferns, a very fragrant miniature Magnolia. I am turning the corner into what I euphemistically call "the dog's yard". And it is in two parts. There is the open, dirt, grassy area where the dogs can play and dig holes and to the left is another area of ground composed of Lavenders and large Roses.

These are scented Roses, Old Roses, a striped Rose called Rosa mundi, and Rosa eglanteria. Rosa mundi (Rosa gallica versicolor) is the oldest striped rose known and dates from 1581. Rosa eglanteria is called a sweetbrier rose. The foliage has an apple scent. It has been known since before 1551. It produces very large hips full of Vitamin C. It is also extracted to make Rosehip Seed oil which is used to reduce wrinkles and damaged skin. There is another Rose whose name I don't know but I dug it out from an old, old garden, a 200 year old garden from an early California family, so I have no idea what this red rose is, but it works fairly nicely in potpourris and in body care products. In this Rose garden, as I said, on the ground there are small Lavenders beginning to grow. 

There is also a very large Artemisia absinthium that I have to trim back regularly. We make absinthe with it. It can poison the soil, for nothing grows around it except some fragrant Violets. I can collect the Violet leaves for compresses for sore throat or for teas for colds. 

There is also a large Witch Hazel in the back of the garden. In the exact back of the yard, due center, is a three foot tall (6 foot tall in 2003) Sequoiadendron gigantium which I am hoping will far outlive me at least to the year 3000. this is memory of Dawn Hollander Fagan who gave it to me and died of uterine cancer.

There are beautiful spider webs in the dog's yard. There is a small open-sided redwood room, 7 x 5 where I have been known to sleep on those rare hot San Francisco nights. I also keep my 25 gallon pot still here.

Now, I have to turn around as I am as far back as my property permits. As I turn around, to face the back of the house, I am now facing North, rather than South. I can see the rest of the rear yard which is about 12 feet long and 25 feet wide. I have a Mullein here going to seed whose seeds I have collected. There is in the Rose Garden another sun dial, I call it the summer sundial, it is in the full sun only in the summer. It is a flying swan. There is sculpture of a snake, a Redwood snake, big tall sculpture in the Rose garden. 

I have also commissioned a sculpture called Sequoia to remind me of the majesty of these trees that grow in the Sierras, the biggest of which is 32 feet at the base.

In the SE corner, left rear of the garden, is a Ginkgo biloba tree, which makes a good drink for anti-aging.

Ginkgo in September

Ginkgo in November, ready to be harvested

In October when the leaves turn golden and begin to drop, I make a powerful infusion preserved in good brandy. This I drink throughout the year for its health-giving properties.

Still House SH • • •

In the SW corner of the yard is the Still House. I keep my 25-gallon still stored here with all the necessary apparatus so that I can distill plants.
It is very beautiful. The pot is about 6 feet around and with the ‘hat’ on and gooseneck attached, I can stand underneath. I like to say, “the act of distillation is the art of the invisible being made visible”. The invisible, of course, is the essential oil that cannot be seen but only smelled when it is in the plant. Moreover, the visible is the essential oil that can be seen but only after distillation has rendered it available and visible.

Copper Still - 75 liter table top size

Romneya coulteri “Fried-Egg Plant


Rear Yard H • • •

Also, to the left as I come towards the fence that separates my garden from the dog's yard, and on the Southwest side here, I see my Hops beginning to grow quite well, except I will have to have them attached to the fence. They are not being cooperative at this point. The Hops is looking really good, too, it's just growing like crazy. Hops makes great beer and if dried and stuffed into a pillow makes a great "sleep pillow". Here is a large Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri) which has giant white flowers with yellow centers with a delicate spicy fragrance. Its common name is "Fried-egg plant."

And here is my Spanish broom, not Scotch broom, but Spanish broom which is used for fragrance and perfume and makes an incredibly nicely-scented flower oil. There is Iris and Orris on the back of this fence that separates the dog's yard.

There is a lovely, wonderful hybrid Musk Rose called Kathleen. It's been available since 1922. Kathleen blooms twice in a year and the flowers are pink with huge yellow stamens.

There's Vitex agnus castus tree which is 6 feet tall now. The seeds are used by women to balance hormones and is especially useful during menopause. Now I am going down these few little steps so I can go around the other side of the curved redwood fence. 

Musk Rose Kathleen

60 lb block of quartz crystal

Scented Geranium Circle G • • •

There is, on my left as I step down a large flowering shrub with very fragrant flowers that I call the Joanna Cassidy Memorial shrub. I have no idea what genus of plant it is, but it was planted by my friend who is now a movie actress. It was supposed to be Mock Orange, so we call it Mock Mock Orange. It smells good and it marks a particular period of the life of the house which is 1970 when I designed clothes for Rock and Roll stars. So now I am turning left. In front of me lies the Lavender circle. Here is a pad of full-size bricks in a curving circle pattern. It's called the moon pad. In Japanese lore this is to reflect the sky and the clouds. So I am going to step up onto it. There are pots here of Woodruff, Chervil, English Pennyroyal, immediately to my left is my last remaining sun dial. This is the Spring dial. And it is in the full sun on March 21st. The sun dials are placed in a line from back to front, in the Rose garden the summer dial, to the rear of the Lavender circle is the Spring dial, in the meadow is the Autumn dial and up on the railing, right at the back door is the Winter dial. 

Here is a piece of gold mining equipment from Big Sur. There is also the Iroquois Indian garden protector, a 3 foot log carved out from the living tree and then removed. This protects the garden.

St. Francis of Assisi is nestled in the Rosemary which is large and trailing Rosemary. Also a huge 60 pound block of quartz crystal lattice from Arkansas that was given to me by Barbara B. is here, the Musk Rose Kathleen and a nice, comfortable garden bench. 

Towards the back in a circle around the Scented Geranium pad are the pots where I would keep the so-called summer herb garden for culinary use. I am facing the rear of the house, to the left is West and South behind. And to the right is East to North.

As I step from the secluded rear yard where I do all the distillation and walk around the Joanna Cassidy Memorial Plant, I am entranced with the color and the scent of the Musk Rose (Rosa moschata). It covers the high curved fence that separates the Distillation Area from the main part of the garden. The scent is musky and sweet. This is an old rose that dates from the early 1700’s. The hybrid Kathleen has been available since 1942.

Jeanne Rose, San Francisco, CA,
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