A Passion for Maui and making every day a work of art

Gardening is Good For The Soul

Have you ever been homesick? If so, you know the ache that comes with a longing for home. Anything can trigger a memory that is fond to us. While watering in my garden or weeding sometimes, though it is extremely beautiful here on Maui, I am always taken back to my previous gardens in California. The scent of basil takes me to Topanga, California where I see a dusty hill and rugged Oak trees in the Canyon thinking of my little old dog Blackie who used to go everywhere with me. Then I’m led to memories of Sassafrass Nursery where I learned all about plants. The first day in the nursery Pamela the owner took me all throughout and had me name the plants I knew by heart. She was impressed. I am self-taught from visiting nurseries and experimenting all my life.

Dinnerplate Dahlias

I began in my twenties planting gardens in Sun Valley, California, Malibu, Topanga, Pine Mountain Club, California and then Hawaii. Everywhere I have lived came a burning desire to plant. I have to dig in the earth and plant beautiful things. I love herbs and pansies, violas, johnny-jumpups, lobelia, cosmos, sunflowers, zinnias and bulbs like dahlias, irises, daffodils, ranunculas, anemones, ixias and tulips. In Hawaii I plant dahlias among my herbs and green onions, thyme and gingers. They become huge blooms I mix with tropical bouquets of other scented spider lilies and gardenias.

                                                                      Lilikoi Vines

Here I am writing about the plants I love while dreaming of California gardens.

I have come full circle in beautiful Maui where all year long I can plant my orchids, native ferns and I totally enjoy having bananas growing in my path and papayas, a yard full of house plants. But at times I long for the cold weather different types of flowers that love the mountains of The Los Padres National Forest (my real home where my roots are)…my poppies that reseed themselves on my property there, the yarrow that has gone native, the penstemmons and lupine, the lilacs and pine trees, sagebrush and hollyhocks are so nostalgic and country and I think of quilting and baking pies and all the things that make me feel happy like taking care of my family there, too. I miss my house and my mom and sister and the mountains. The quiet nights, the crickets, the wind in the poplars are memories so sweet in my heart. A good smoky fire in my BBQ in the back yard. I love to burn wood and sing my camp songs til after dark… Well all these memories just from watering and weeding in my Maui garden.

Heavenly Blue Morning Gories

Gardening is a joy, and weeds are a chore, but so enriching to my soul as I wait for the tiny lettuce leaves to emerge, and wait for the peas to sprout and the dahlias to shoot. The cosmos are two inches tall and by summer will be three feet high. My tomatoes are taking off. Sweet basils are scattered throughout to ward off tomato worms. It works every time. Someday I’ll be back planting in California, but for now I will just have to enjoy Maui, Hawaii. Pink plumerias coming soon and lilikoi vines to pick all summer for jam & jelly and juice for months.

So, I’m home in my spirit but here on Maui and gardening is healing to my soul and spirit.

My new garden is coming along with lots of vegetables and  flowers so I will keep you posted soon.

Marilyn Jansen Lopes

Author of Amaryllis, Amaryllis, How Does Your Garden Grow? “Organically Of Course!”


What are you growing? A kitchen garden, window boxes with herbs and potted plants, tomatoes?

All photos are by Marilyn Jansen Lopes and photos of others are posted with their permission.I have received no compensation to mention products or companies on my blog.


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