Springtime Means Playing in the Dirt!

As warm weather and sunshine cascade over my garden and courtyard, I welcome in my absolute favorite time of year–springtime. This is a time of heirloom tomatoes and walks on the beach. It is also a time of garden tours, bright colored flowers and the creativity of a new plantings season.

As I stroll through the nursery, I am flooded with wonderful new ideas for my outdoor space. Tulips, iceland poppies (my personal favorite), English primrose, cyclamen and ranunculus are all dancing brightly before me. From soft pastels to vibrant purples, fuchsias and bright whites–the choices seem endless. They seem to be raising their hands, asking me to kidnap them and bring them home to my garden. And of course, I oblige, filling my trunk to overflowing. When I arrive home, my husband rolls his eyes with that “here we go” look.

And, so the process begins. I drag out the bags of potting soil, shovels, and stake my claim for a work area. It is a long, wonderful day of filling pots and planting to my heart’s content. I am in heaven and start to plan in my mind our family Easter gathering, springtime brunches and how my courtyard and cascading fountain will welcome everyone. It makes it all worth doing.

Gliding my fingers into the dark, cold potting soil feels so good. I start to giggle at an interesting observation. Everything I learned about gardening, I learned cooking in the kitchen. Getting Dirty–whether it’s playing in the dirt of my garden or baking bread, somehow, dirt and flour seems to get everywhere! Seasonality Matters–when I’m planing a dinner menu or reworking my garden, the season dictates all of my selections. And, rightfully so. Selecting the Best Ingredients–I am a big believer in using top quality soil, enriched vitamins and high quality plants and flowers. The same is true in the kitchen. Sharing Is Caring–I love the “tah-dah” moment when I am serving my dinner guests. I also feel that same sense of pride when guests arrive and meander through my garden on their way to the front door. It is a feast for the eyes, or, at least, that is what I strive for.

Here are two events held each spring that I really enjoy. Let the fun begin!

Sherman Gardens Private Home Garden Tour will be held April 16, 2016. This is an annual event that I have been attending for at least ten years. Guests receive a booklet with special stories on six or so spectacular homes. Guests tour the gardens and docents are there to answer questions. Classical music and watercolor painters are sprinkled at various locations as well. It is a very special day with my friends & sister. Over the years we have been to Shady Canyon, Cameo Shores, the King Streets, Lido Island, Newport Coast, Corona del Mar and all over the Newport area. This is my favorite event of spring! SLGardens.org/20th-Annual-Private-Gardens-Tour

Roger’s Gardens is more than a nursery, it is a huge center for home goods, gift items, outdoor space and endless plants. It is a family-owned business that has been Corona del Mar for 50 years. On Saturday mornings, Roger’s hosts free lectures on everything from edible gardens to planting with water use in mind. “Tomatomania,” held March 4–6, 2016, is an annual event that we gardeners all look forward to. With soil, containers and experts to help guests make their selections, there are more than 175 varieties of tomatoes to choose from. It is great fun if you like to grow tomatoes. RogersGardens.com

Deirdre Michalski is a travel and culinary writer covering topics near and far. You can read more about her adventures on her web site TasteAndTravel.com