About

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I am writing this blog because I’d like to share my experience and passion for gardening, cooking and eating with you.

I am a certified California Master Gardener and have been gardening (ornamental and veggies) in Oakland for 25 years. My own yard is heavily shaded with a giant redwood tree so I have borrowed a sunny plot from my neighbor; it borders his driveway. The plot consists of four raised beds built by my husband and an open area in which I wage war with perennial grass. Sun is limited due to large trees.

Both sides of my family have always gardened, although I didn’t discover my own passion until we purchased our first home over 25 years ago. I have fond memories of playing as a child in my grandparent’s large garden outside London. Each spring I grow sweet peas in memory and honor of my grandmother. Their scent is my direct connection to her. In Florida my father had a large plot on an empty lot next to the house. After I moved to the West coast in my late 20s, he always waited until I flew home at Christmas to let me help dig the potatoes. It seemed like a treasure hunt. I recommend growing potatoes to anyone with small children.

As for cooking, my English born mother was educated in France, studied at the Cordon Bleu and took classes from Julia Child. She is my muse and mentor. In her 50s she started and ran a successful traditional French cooking school. I learned by watching, being her sous chef, and eventually teaching classes with her. I love to cook for family and friends. And although I am comfortable cooking classical French food, I find that I prefer simple, fresh and seasonal recipes using produce from my own garden or the farmer’s market.

For the last 25 years my crooked career path has taken me from the biology lab into biotech, working for both U.S. and international companies. Extensive travel was often part of the job. But even with a busy schedule, I have managed to have a few varieties of fresh vegetables available in my kitchen garden. Sometimes an hour a week was all I had between spending time with my family, attending my son’s sporting events, and catching up on household chores. I have some tips which might be helpful to you in starting even a tiny garden. Here as well you’ll find ideas for fun and stress free cooking, eating, and entertaining. I invite you along on the journey.

I am married and live with my husband, one boomerang child, two active Australian Shepherds, and a monster cat. There will be more on the cat later.

26 thoughts on “About

    • Thank you for visiting and following. I have pinned your recipe for spicy plum sauce. We have “wild” plum trees around our house and they produce small plums the size of cherries. I’m always looking for ways to use them, it’s a short season when we have a glut of them. I hate to see them go to waste or to the deer.

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  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I may follow up with you later as I have been having gardening troubles for the past 2 summers. I used to have a great little garden, as you can see in one of my earlier posts, then it started to get eaten and shaded, arg!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Liz, I enjoyed reading your About page. We have a love of cooking and gardening in common. We try to grow sweet peas (as well as vegetables) every year here in Arizona. They are one of my favorite flowers. We have also had fun with potatoes the past couple years. You are so right – they are a lot of fun to grow, and seem to do well here. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I look forward to following yours!

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  3. THE LIEBSTER AWARD!!
    Hi there, I have been discovering your blog and have enjoyed it. As a result, I would like to know a little more about you. Thus, I have nominated you for The “Liebster Award!”
    I would not be surprised if you’ve been nominated before, but if you’re like me, you never get tired of being acknowledged! Please follow the link to –
    https://foodforthesoul00.wordpress.com/2015/07/03/thank-you-for-the-liebster-award/

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    • Hello Zeba, thank you so much for the nomination! You are right, it feels wonderful to be recognized. Congratulations on your own award. Because I am now working full time and traveling quite a bit for my job, the work involved with various awards has not been a priority. That could change if I “retire” later this year or sometime next. Meanwhile, thank you again and I appreciate your nomination. If you personally have questions for me, ask away!

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    • Hello and thank you! How lucky you are to be able to garden all year, I missed my summer garden last year because of the drought. We were severely restricted on watering. You have a wonderful blog…you are going to hear plenty of my posts about gophers as well. We are preparing to spend most of our time up north at our second home (after the remodel); there we have gophers, and rabbits, and deer, and foxes, not to mention the occasional bear and mountain lion.

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      • Wow! That is a lot. We have pocket gophers who are a little smaller than regular gophers. We’ve found the best traps for us are cinch traps. So far the garden has been restricted to plants that are not particularly attractive to gophers or deer, lavender and salvias and sages…the aromatic ones. But once we start planting fruit trees and vegetables they will start coming around. A deer fence is going to be a requirement. But, first the remodel and addition. I’m impatient to get started.

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  4. I have huge admiration for your Master Gardener qualification. I am a terrible gardener… I try and try to grow things on my balcony but end up with shrivelled plants and a broken heart (hopefully i can pick up a few tips from your posts!). You have a lovely blog and it’s been great to ‘meet’ you through the IMK link up. Can’t wait to read more of your recipes 🙂
    -Laura

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    • You can do a lot on a balcony with even a little sun. I love to garden and there are many really talented ones among the IMK group. We have had a terrible drought here for the last few years and have been on water restrictions. That combined with working full time has limited my gardening. A few herbs would be easy and tolerant of neglect. If you are busy and the pot is large enough a watering once a week would be adequate. Rosemary and thyme are nice to have near the kitchen.

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