Friday, August 01, 2008

Travelogue: San Diego day 6

Wednesday July 23, 2008
Laura and I had spent the night at my in-laws; after a family breakfast, Laura scampered off to work, leaving my MIL Barbara and I to consider our options for the day. I made the suggestion that we go out to Summer's Past Farms, if it wasn't too far away.
The farm was but eight miles, according to Google maps, out in Flinn Springs. Very do-able.

So away we went, leaving my FIL Hal to his own devices for the day.

Barbara had never been to Summer's Past Farms before. I hadn't been in years and years.

In fact, the first time I went it was just lots of fields growing statice flowers. The couple who were starting the business had had the land in the family for years. They took a horticultural program at the local community college, drew up a business plan and started in.

Upon my first visit (fifteen?) years ago, all they were doing were raising flowers to sell to local flower shops and markets.

By the next visit they had added a barn and few other buildings. Then I never visited them again. I did remember that on the last visit I had first encountered chocolate mint, and variegated nasturtiums and had started on a scented foliage/variegated foliage collecting spree for my own garden.
Today I was in for a pleasant surprise.

The grounds had grown up considerably.

There were lovely gardens everywhere.

There were paths everywhere between walls draped with beautiful flowers.

At the front of the property was a bean and corn maze in the making. The farm has a yearly pumpkin festival; the maze features into the some of the fun of that event.

The grounds still sell some plants, but the mostly the fields have been turned into English style flower gardens. Just perfect for two ladies with itchy camera trigger fingers.

A friendly cat served as our escort.

The reddish pink flowers in the foreground: I always called them Joe Pye weed.

They smell vaguely like vanilla and are very bountiful bloomers.

The sunflowers weren't doing too bad either. There were sunflower heads bigger than my own head drying hooked over fences about the place.

A now spent hollyhock had grown to dazzling heights. I wonder what color it had been, and envy the fact that it's seeds would scatter nicely about for next year's display.

Some garden areas were nearly overrun with lavender.
The bees were enjoying the lavender too; I couldn't help but wonder how tasty their honey must bee.

(Oops, I guess that should be spelled "be".)

There were secret hidden gardens too, just waiting for us to find as we wandered deeper into the gardens.

We discovered fairy gardens tucked away in the center of the gardens.

I think putting a fairy garden together would be more fun than making a doll house. But then again, I would rather garden than do housework any day!

One (theologically unsound) theory about the origins of fairies:

When the war in heaven broke out between the angels, the bad angels were cast to earth as demons. The good angels stay in heaven as angels. But there was a third group of angels that refused to take sides: They didn't want to get involved; they preferred to sing and play while the battle raged.

Later the neutral angels were cast to earth as fairies...since they didn't side with either side, they couldn't really be classified as either good or bad, but still enjoy singing and playing in gardens today.

At least that's how one legend goes.

Looks like a flower a fairy would enjoy visiting...

The barn of my memories has become a gift shop/class room. The statice flowers hang drying in bunches from the rafters. So many lovely pastel shades, such a lovely way to decorate overhead.

Inside the gift shop was lots of fairy related merchandise. I gave in and bought a book of flower fairy poetry. Each flower I have ever heard of has a poem dedicated to it, and a drawing from 1910-1920 of a fairy garbed as the flower.

(They will likely be featured on later posts....)

The fairy garden accessories: If I had a wee lass in my life, I would have been buying up the merchandise big time.

The little arbor arch was about 8 inches tall. I could really get my imagination going with these pieces. Especially the tiny wheelbarrows!

Summer's Past Farm's is making a bit of a name for itself with an annual Fairy Garden Festival in early June. People bring their fairy gardens there for judging and fairy winged children frolic through the garden alive with imaginary fairies.

It turned out that there were two Siamese cats on staff: Amber and Autumn. I forget which one this was, but clearly this cat is more comfortable helping out at the shop. Very friendly cats they were; we were escorted everywhere by a cat with brown stocking and sky blue eyes.

Barbara and I wandered about the grounds for almost an hour, seeing more and more details as we went along.

I'm not sure if small succulent dish gardens would work to lure fairies, but they as plants are so enjoyable for their sculptural shapes and dusty pastel shades.

In the middle of the grounds there was a shade cloth covered area where you can sit for a bit. A tea and coffee bar is to the side; Barbara and I just sipped our bottled water and enjoyed visiting for a bit.

One of Lovella's chicken's stopped by to visit with us too.

(Hey of your layers flew the coop to San Diego!)

The garden had lots of places to sit and visit in picturesque settings, a good thing as Flinn Springs is quite a bit inland; it tends to get rather hot there in summer.

Probably my favorite view, with the typical brown California hills in the background.

An artist apparently agreed with me; he was creating an oil painting of that exact scene.

The happy chaos of English gardening style is so nice to stroll amongst.

Having finished ohh-ing and ahh-ing, and with the temperature heating up, we decided to head back to La Mesa, and to try to find a place for lunch.

Barbara asked if I had any suggestions as to where we should eat. I had no idea...a tea room, or a sandwich shop? We drove down the main street of little La Mesa village, where Barbara has lived for the past 51 years, and where I lived for nineteen years, and we were both quite surprised to see that what used to be a shop (we don't remember what kind of shop..) has now become a tea room. The sign over the front door was visible as we drove along:

Abrey Rose Tea Room.

Now La Mesa does have a lot of antique shops now, but it really isn't a la dee dah kind of place. Just nice and friendly like, with a 1950's town feel about it.

Barbara said she had never noticed the tea room before, but decided we should give it a try.

We parked around the corner and trooped in, me in shorts and a top, and she like wise casually attired.

Oh MY! This looked mighty fancy...but a mannequin dress in an old English tea gown held a sign noting that we should relax as the Queen would not be in today.

So we did relax, and we did stay for SUCH a treat!

We asked how long the tea room had been in operation.
Five years!
Barbara couldn't believe she had missed knowing about this place for so long!

Our table centerpiece consisted of two home grown heritage roses!

First course: A cold zucchini soup with red peppers, a goat cheese pastry boat, and a Swiss wafer.
The tiny rose looked good enough to eat too.

Second course: Delightful cheese tarts and cucumber sandwiches and fresh fruit and three kinds of desserts.

We were offered quite an extensive tea menu, and could have chose two kinds of teas, but we agreed on an herbal tea that was just delicious. I wish I could remember what was in it.
While we sipped and sampled, lovely soft Christian music played in the back ground. The waitress was a young woman dressed in a black dress and white apron.

Perfect, perfect, perfect!

The final course consisted of two lemon scones with lavender flower icing. It was so nice to have such a delicate scone, and another beautiful rose to enjoy.

There were two other "parties" while we were there, but each table is situated in a nook so it feels quite intimate. Don't you just love the water goblet covers? The waitress whipped ours off before I got a chance to snap a picture.
The tea shop also sold tea (of course) and English china, and doll tea sets, and HATS!
Wonderful, wonderful hats from an English milliner. They were very reasonably price too, around $65-110, not bad for a hand made hat with beautiful millinery trims.
I just could not believe that I was in a lovely tea room and I didn't have on a hat!

After we finished our luxurious tea time (and I later read a review that said Abrey Rose is booked solid on weekends; happy was I that we stumble upon it on a Wednesday afternoon!) we went headed out to Home Depot. Home Depot is a hardware/garden center chain, and the one in La Mesa at the foot of Massachusettes Ave. has one of the best nurseries in town.
I used to live up the street from it, and learned a lot by attending their free Saturday morning gardening classes. It was fun to see that it is still a great resource, especially since the Home Depots in Texas are rather disappointing nursery wise. Too much heat for the poor flowers to bear.
I was on the prowl for more fuchias for my parents garden; I wanted to get them several different kinds, one for Father's Day, one for Mother's Day, and one for my Mom's birthday, all of which events had happened during the past few weeks.

I could not believer that there were only THREE kinds of fuchias available!
And that there were riots of impatients; annoyingly Texas had almost no impatients available this year.

Yup, it was just as I remembered. I used to go and just drool over the plants and plan only to spend a dollar or two...and would instead come home with a trunk full of plants.

My MIL is a such a good sport: This time I wound up buying two eight inch pots of fuchias, and also a four foot tall fuchia tree. Which had to be squeezed into the front seat leaning back over me with the pot wedged between my feet.

Did I mention that I was riding in Barbara's brand new Camry?
Yeah...she is a REALLY good sport. But I was careful, and no dirt was spilled inside the car. Whew.

Back at her house I took a quick dip in their swimming pool to cool off before she drove me back to La Jolla.

It felt so lonely swimming there without Bernie. We had swam there while we dated, later when we lived in the house with our little ones (Jeff was "born" in that house) we swam with babies, and tossed them about as they learned to jump into the water. We would swim under the moonlight in the summer months, the black bottom pool reflecting the sky so it was impossible to tell where the pool ended and the night sky began.

Good memories...

We moved into the house when Laura was 9 months old. Fearful of her safety, we build a fence around the pool to prevent her from accidently entering the pool unseen. It wasn't a very pretty fence, but it served it purpose and made family gatherings a bit safer after we moved out and Barbara and Hal moved back in.

Eventually there were four more grand babies born in the family after Laura, and later five great grandchildren learned to splash and play in that pool as well.

Barbara has grown an interesting vine through the fencing. The pink flowers don't even look real.

Whoever would imagine hard plastic like things like these would be the buds of such a flower?
Such buds, like today, are full of surprises!
Update: This is a Hoya vine.

(Tomorrow: the last day in La Jolla. And Rufus brings us a surprise!)


Vicki said...

Gosh, I haven’t seen a fairy garden in years. I had one when I was about 8 or 9 one summer. What I didn’t have in miniature, I created from paper, scissors, and colored pencils. I spent days working on it, only to have one of my younger siblings “take care” of it for me. I never “rebuilt” it after that.

You certainly packed a lot into your trip! That tea room was such a nice surprise, too. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

Lovella said...

Ah . .it looks like that hen had some dinner along the way .. she's a chubby little thing. Terry had a look at her too and smiled . .
Oh that tea looked absolutely perfect. What a great find for ladies to enjoy .. it reminded me of the tea room we enjoyed together with a simple lunch.

Sara said...

Well, that was truly fun...and what a great tea room you found. If I'd known it was there for the past five years I would have visited too when I was in town (once or twice during that time). My good friend has a house in La Mesa. I love the little downtown area and all those antique shops.

You both had a good time...I enjoyed joining you on your gallivant.

Anonymous said...

What fun to relive our fun day together!! Your pictures are wonderful. I've really enjoyed following your trip to S.D through your blog. I've been told the vine with flowers on the fence is called a Hoya, not sure of the accuracy of that, but that is what I've always called it. Sometimes Waxflower. Who knows for sure? Perhaps someone who sees your blog will recognise it and know it's proper name. Thinking of you both. Love mom S.

Anonymous said...

It has been quite a while since I thought about our swims in the moonlight. It did feel like you were swimming in liquid moonlight...Good times. It takes a chicken rancher to tell that a chicken is fat...they all look the same to me under plastic wrapper.