An herbal haven on California's South Coast

Fill your garden with aromatic herbs

An herbal haven on California's South Coast

Creeping thyme grows between flagstone pavers in this entry garden. More thyme fills pots and lavender and salvias add color. A grafted gardenia ('First Love') near the gate provides a touch of sweetness; a white-flowered geranium fills a pot at far left. The birdhouse on the wall above it — designed to look like a summer hat — houses an active nest.

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Rana Malas wanted a garden that felt like the ones she grew up with near the Mediterranean Sea. That meant aromatic foliage plants like scented geraniums, lavender, rosemary, and thyme.

Malas insisted on a few edibles, such as a fruiting olive tree. "In the Middle East, an olive tree is a lucky plant," she says. "It brings you riches." A grapevine was also a necessity. "Living so close to the beach, I knew we might not get much fruit. But I love having the leaves handy to use in cooking."

Malas's ideal garden had to include lots of clay pots in classic shapes. Many contain her favorite herbal plants, but others ― especially the large ones ― are left empty, to be appreciated for their own beauty.


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