A Clean Palette

Over the holidays we took a rather spontaneous trip down to Disneyland. We are not normally the theme park sort of people, but Disneyland can be so fun. And it was. But after four days at the Happiest Place on Earth, we returned to what is our Happiest Place on Earth. Immediately our two boys (three, if you count the oldest boy), who were visuably overwhelmed with all the commercialism, came home and make a beeline for the outside. I didn’t see them all day long as they immersed themselves in nature.
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Without prompting our eight year old ripped out his summer garden. The cherry tomato that fed us to Christmas, the peppers, the basil that he picked out at the nursery in spring was all now frost killed. He hauled them out, weeded and raked the soil flat. He was the first to have his garden ready for spring planting.
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Scott and I quickly followed suit. I had begun late last summer to sheet mulch a strip of flower bed that I hang my laundry by and that we walk by frequently. At one time, I can tell, it had structure and a solid plan in place, but nature quickly intervened and turned it into a wild weed patch. Fresh full of inspiration from reading Gaia’s Garden (so good!), I began sheet mulching little by little as we came across cardboard boxes. The boys and I lay a rock border to give it a defined edge and laid mulch along the path to suppress the weeds.
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Now with a clean palette my mind has been going this way and that designing my new bed. Some days I think it should be for cut flowers. Other days I am sketching out plans for a medicinal herb garden for my lotions and salves, other times I want to make it a native garden for the bees. Maybe it should be planted with flowers and plants for natural dying. What do you think? What would you plant if given a clean palette?

13 Comments

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13 responses to “A Clean Palette

  1. I’m so jealous of you beautiful sunny spot to plant! I have to use a strip of my front lawn which my neighbors just love🙂
    I’m planting butterstick zucchini. I had never tried them before last summer when I found them at the farmers market. They look like a zucchini but are bright yellow like a summer squash. the taste is indescribable.
    Can’t wait to see what you choose!

  2. KimH

    I’d find a way to plant everything!! 🙂 Love your phots!

  3. It seems to me you could accomplish all three of your goals in one garden. Plant varieties that are good lotions/salves, the bees will enjoy and have dyable properties!!! Bliss!

  4. Martha Escobar

    Thank you so much for your web site, it has been a blessing. I did a spin on your Bee’s Wax Cream: Avocado or Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Bee’s Wax(Natural),1 tsp. Honey, 1 tsp. Bee Pollen,Vit. E-Oil……….I call it a repair cream, and boy howdy does it ever! We seniors have the driest skin! It sets up more solid, but melts on contact and leaves a nice protective barrier on the skin. Of course all the gals think I’m a genius:) Thanks again sweetie, Martha vulcanma@comcast.net

  5. janie

    Sheet mulching…is that like the lasagna gardening (mulching) as in making a garden spot anywhere??

  6. Jennifer

    A wonderful time for your gardening story to come my way. Last fall I started gathering plants for a pollinator garden of which I will have some plants in tubs and some planted on a bank in our back alley. Trouble is, the deer will help themselves to the alley plants, not sure what to do there…

  7. I love coming to your blog and dream about gardening. I live in the woods. No garden for me. 🙂

  8. Kristen

    I’m sure that with a bit of planning you could accomplish all three desires. The bees… They’re easy. They’ll like whatever you plant. Our bees really seem to like the rosemary and the lavender. My husband loves your lotion recipe and always has a batch made. Because I like lavender so much he adjusted the recipe when he makes it for me. He filled up a canning jar with freshly harvested lavender and then filled it with olive oil and let’s it sit for a week. Then he used that oil to make the lotion. It smells heavenly and it perfectly soothing at nighttime. All this to say, I would recommend lavender- for you and the bees. We’re not far from you just over in Napa.

  9. sharon

    I would try to plant it all, matter of fact I think I will – I already want to put in more calendula for salve I always grow different herbs and flowers which attract the bees and beneficials. years ago I had fantasized about growing dye plants and reading your blog brought that to light again as I’m crocheting rugs out of sheets and want to dye the white ones. could be interesting??

  10. Mom

    I vote for the combination garden. My goal is to always have something looking good all seasons of the year. With all this COLD weather my yard isn’t too perky but the Nandina is so RED it always makes me smile. Since you walk by this area frequently it would be good to have some fragrant plants too.

  11. No real input on what to do with a clean palette; I’m brand new to gardening (i.e. still figuring out how big to make it and where to put it). But I love that your kids have their own gardens!
    By the way, I love your blog. I stopped using all commercial cosmetic/hygiene products in October 2011, and as I was figuring out what recipes I liked best for my own homemade products, I found myself referencing your posts again and again.

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