Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Summer Blockbuster Action Movie About--Gardening?!?

 What a delightful surprise that "Mad Max:  Fury Road" turned out to be about gardening and gardeners.  In a sense.  Mostly, it's a two hour post-apocalyptic car chase, but the protagonists are trying to get to "the green place" in a landscape devoid of plants and water.  (Some filming was done in Namibia, one of the driest places on earth.) Plant seeds are a key plot point.  Metaphorically,  the movie is about enduring a terrible ordeal in order to reach a green place.  We gardeners can certainly appreciate that. 

Speaking of reaching green places, we toured the Huntington Herb garden last Sunday.  Our original destination was the Rose garden, which we discovered was being set up to host a wedding.  We turned into the Herb garden instead.
It costs $100,000 to rent the Huntington Rose Garden for a wedding.  Bridegroom not included.   
 Workers were addding fresh roses to the central dome.  I doubt those were included in the price.
 The herb garden was quiet.  A few visitors, a lot of plants. 
 Caper plant.  This is reputedly an easy growing, drought tolerant shrub in Southern California.  Eat a lot of capers?  I don't.  The edible bit is the flower bud, which is pickled. The ripe berry is also eaten pickled. 
 Herbal plants are often round, nebulous, blobby plants, so formal structure in an herb garden makes for good visual balance. 
 This is the flax that produces flax seed, Linum usitatissimum.  It was drying out, so it had been tied into bundles, which looked attractive, actually.  Pretty blue flowers.

 Some sort of Salvia, I think. 
 The pink and white version of Salvia leucantha, which is most typically purple.  A myrtle in bloom on the right. 
 The rose arbor, hedges, tuteurs, brick paths, and wrought wishing well add structure.  In winter the area is mostly fallow.  I think the tall grassy plant might be sugar cane. 
 
Structure also added by the trunks of a Crape Myrtle. 

Bronze fennel surrounding..something.
 
Bronze fennel again, with Amaranth seedlings in the background.

 Artichoke, both edible and ornamental
 Late spring, without doubt. 
 On leaving, visitor whimsy sighted.


 A green place is a good place.

22 comments:

  1. Wow, someone rented the Huntington Rose Garden for a wedding for $ 100.000?! That is hard to believe for me, but I guess I am simply not playing that league...
    Anyway, I enjoyed following you on your detour into the herb garden. The wishing well is lovely!
    Christina

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    1. I can think of better ways to spend $100,000 (like, a house). Happy you enjoyed the herb garden. We visit more in winter when it is nearly all fallow, so this spring visit was a nice change of pace.

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  2. The herb garden looks interesting for a peruse. 100K to rent, oh my!

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    1. The money goes to upkeep the rose garden--so in that sense it's a Very Good Thing.

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  3. A great post dear Hoover, so many wonderful plants in the herb garden, interesting colours and textures, the flax looks so lovely. I have not seen a caper plant before but I do use capers in my "Putanesca" spaghetti sauce recipe.
    The wedding flowers look beautiful; gosh it costs a lot for a wedding venue.
    xoxoxo ♡

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    1. It is said to be a tough, fairly xeric plant, so it might do well for you. The flowers are something like tiny Callistemon. I had a sauce with capers in it once, it was delicious.

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  4. I don't suppose anybody rents the herb garden for weddings... beautiful though!

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    1. Or the Desert Garden--a wedding in the Desert Garden would make for some interesting conversation.

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  5. I love Mad Max being about gardening! Can the sequel be "Beyond the succulent greenhouse".

    In the Uk there is growing trend for edible gardens, especially jungle style gardens with bananas, gingers, peas, pumpkins etc. I hadn't thought of a drought tolerant one, but I guess many of the herbs would be good in rockeries.

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    1. I'm hoping the next sequel will have electric cars--or at least biodiesel. I did not know George Miller was originally an MD who partially financed the first "Mad Max" by doing emergency medical treatments, and who was inspired in the first place to do a car crash movie by all the car crash victims he treated. The edible garden is kind of a thing here, too. Definitely drought tolerant are things like the Mediterranean herbs--rosemary, oregano and the like.

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  6. Interesting tour around the herb garden. If you can't grow a real caper bush, fresh green nasturtium seeds can also be pickled and taste like capers. You know, if you have to make do like having your wedding at the Huntington and not Westminster... Glad that the rose garden gets a healthy boost when it's rented for an event.

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    1. It's nice to see the rose garden getting some love and attention. The whole place seems to be hopping with new projects these days.

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  7. Miller proved that at 70 he's still got phenom action director chops, didn't he? I didn't know he was an MD -- makes sense with all that IV transfusion talk. And nice touch, that a handful of seeds is still the most exciting thing of all...

    Didn't you just want to carry away that bucket of roses?

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    1. Terrific movie, really enjoyed it. He managed to slip in all sorts of ideas between explosions.

      Yes, still love them there roses!

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  8. I was please to hear that Mad Max has returned, and more pleased still to find that the plot has a botanical touch, but I expect I'll wait to see it until I can do so in the comfort of my own home. I wonder if that white and pink Salvia leucantha is 'Danielle's Dream,' which I recently picked up - mine hasn't shown any pink yet but the plant my friend snatched up had lots of bright pink color.

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    1. Multiple strong, capable female characters--some of them elderly--made for a refreshing surprise. Max was almost a supporting character.

      I didn't see a label on the leucantha. The pink was just starting to appear. Beautiful plant!

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  9. That's a very attractive variation on the Salvia leucantha theme. Now wondering what herbal use S. leucantha might have. I confidently told members of my Herb Guild that it and several other southwest native salvias aren't really herbal (i.e. having some use: medicinal (including historical), culinary, household, or industrial); may have to eat my words.

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    1. Sadly, no. The club members used to be looser, relying heavily on the "delight" in an old herbal's characterization of herbs as "plants of use and delight", but now hew to the definition applied by the Herb Society of America. I have a feeling the Huntington staff are prepared to explain inclusion of any the plants in their Herb Garden, which gives me some hope/expectation of finding documented herbal uses of not only S. leucantha but maybe more of those wonderful western sages, some of which are surprisingly long-lived here in the zone 6b foothills of the Blue Ridge (microphylla,

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    2. Well, beauty is a healing thing, too...

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  10. Wasn't planning on seeing Mad Max, but...maybe?

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    1. Not normally my kind of movie, but it was a hoot!

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