Saturday, December 28, 2013


The Rev. Dana Prom Smith, S.T.D., Ph.D. (10/20/2013)

          Our memories are pretty much what we make of them.  Our histories are recorded in our unconscious process, some so deeply embedded that we can’t recall them.  The stuff of our memories is what we've chosen to remember out of our histories, and those choices are shaped by the meaning we've chosen for ourselves.  Some people select the motif of victimization to guide the creation of their memories.  Others are survivors or prevailers.  Some choose indigations, others fragility or triumphs, and so on.
          Saint Augustine (354-430) in his Confessions (10.11.18) makes a similar point, we "gather together ideas which the memory contains in a dispersed and disordered way and by concentraing our attention we arrange them in order" so that they can "easily come forward and are no longer hidden and scattered."  It's called bringing things to mind, but we only bring things to mind that fit the way we have shaped our personalities, be it pilgrim, victor, conniosseur, adventurer, and so forth. 

          Alex Martinez brings things to mind lying in the grass next to a bed of his mother's gladioli.  He remembers the gardens of his childhood, not merely his parent's garden, but also the gardens of his neighbors.  Happily,  his neighborhood was a polyglot of Midwesterners, Italians, Lebanese, and Mexicans so he was blessed with a variety of gardens and kitchens.  The men worked with their hands to earn their money, and since there was not a lot of excess money, they grew much of their own food.

          When Alex gardens, he always has in mind on the gardens of his childhood which means that Alex gardens with joy, if eccentrically.  He grew up in Tucson.  He has a fig tree in one of the rooms in his house.  It just about covers one wall, but he eats fresh figs, right off the tree.

          Now, Alex is no nut case.  He's a retired school superintendant with a doctorate from the University of Arizona and a retired captain from the U.S. Navy.  He remembers his childhood and adolescence gastronomically which is some ways is better that photographically.  When he eats a fig, he remembers the Lebanese family that lived across the street.

          For the most part, the men in his neighhood were World War II veterans and had been trained and educated on the famous G.I. Bill of Rights.  So they were men with stories to tell.  A childhood with story tellers is hard to beat.

          In addition to a fig tree, Alex also has Meyer lemons growing inside his house.  Indeed, one day while hanging out with him, sipping wine and munching on crackers and cheese, a Meyer lemon sat at the head of the breakfast table as though it were a member of the family.  There are other citrus trees placed strategically throughout the house, next to windows with lots of daylight.  His genius is that he sees his house a living greenhouse as well as a domicile.  If, perchanve, one were to visit him and his wife, Lisa, an artist, sooner or later, more likely sooner, Alex would drag the visitor off to his orchard.  In short, Alex is proud of his garden.

         Now, his domiciled garden is only half of it.  Along one side of his house is a small apple orchard with different varities.  With an eye to the future he is allowing them to grow to a certain height before he tops them so that their shape will be akin to that of an umbrella, protecting the nascent blossoms and fruit below.  This way he figures that the apple trees will be less susceptible to the vagaries of Flagstaff"s springtime frosts and freezes.  He figures things out.

          When I first saw his property undeveloped, I despaired for him because he is my friend.  His house sits on a small hillock with a backyard that falls off precipitously, plunging down and then rising again to form a wooded ravine. Rather than letting it go, he has begun building terraces, up and down, for flowers and vegetables.  However, I didn't understand his genius and the depth of his joyful memories.  With his memories, Alex celebrates life in his garden, inside and out.
Copyright (c) Dana Prom Smith 2013
Dana Prom Smith and Freddi Steele edit Gardening Etcetera for the Arizona Daily Sun.








Wednesday, November 20, 2013


The Rev. Dana Prom Smith, S.T.D., Ph.D.


          Windowsill gardening is one of the bright spots for winter gardeners as well as for year-around foodies.  Without expensive greenhouses, we’re pretty much left with our windowsills during the non-growing seasons in Flagstaff.  This means growing herbs.  Of course, herbs are what make the culinary world go around.


          As I puzzled over the best herbs to grow on our sunny windowsills, I decided to consult an expert.  Nancy McCulla of Simply Delicious/Café Daily Fare came to mind.  If anyone were knowledgeable about culinary herbs, it would be a chef.  Perched high above “66”, behind Babbitt’s automobile agency, and up a rutted dirt lane, McCulla holds forth as a premier caterer and daytime restaurateur in a former foundry.   


          As I munched on delightful apricot and blueberry tart over a cup of tea, we went through nearly all the herbs that can be grown on a sunny windowsill.  The number is, to be use the dismal vernacular, awesome.   At first, I thought of basil because it’s easy to grow and is universally useful although I’ve never tried it in my oatmeal.  Then cilantro came to mind, but some people, such as Julia Child, object claiming that it smells like soap.  She advised throwing it on the floor.  The best way to cure cilantrophobia is to smash the leaves, releasing an enzyme which dispels the unwanted odor of the aldehydes.  Along with garden cress and fernleaf dill, cilantro needs to be reseeded once harvested. 


Then four old favorites came to mind, Greek oregano, thyme, parsley, and tarragon.  As we chatted, others tumbled out: chives, marjoram, chervil, English mint, creeping savory, sorrel, lemon grass, parsley, and, of course, fernleaf dill.  Even sage (dwarf garden) and rosemary (Blue Boy) have been downsized for the windowsill and are best propagated by cuttings.


          Since most herbs are expatriates from the lands around Mediterranean and Asia, growing on sunny windowsills has its advantages because these herbs require sunlight, warmth, and well-drained soil.  Unglazed clay pots with leak-proof saucers are the best containers for growing herbs because the unglazed clay allows for air circulation and evaporation so that the soil will not be waterlogged, a number one adversary in windowsill container gardening.  Potting soil mixed with a little perlite or sand is usually the best choice for growing herbs because it contains compost and nutrients and won’t become compacted, the enemy of all root systems.


          Even though a windowsill may receive lots of light, most of the plants will need at minimum six to eight hours of direct sunlight.  Sometimes additional light is needed.  A fluorescent light set about six to ten inches the plants should be enough for a sunny windowsill.    


A little mulch of gravel will help keep the gnats and fruit flies at bay.  If other pests attack a plant, a convenient response is to dunk the whole plant in a bath of insecticidal soap.  As far as fertilizing is concerning, the best and most convenient is fish emulsion, diluted to half-strength every two weeks, except for marjoram and sage.  Organic fertilizer is safest if the herbs are eaten.


Some tips: pinch flower buds to keep the plants growing, don’t allow the plants to touch the window glass so that the foliage won’t freeze, and plant herbs with the same cultural environment in a single container, and pinch back branching herbs to keep them bushy.


Now, to the point.  Fall and winter are the seasons for stews and soups, slow-cooking, comfort dishes that require herbs and spices to bring them to life.  Also, they’re needed to add vigor to our sauces, such as pomodoro and fish, and various marinades.  Much to my surprise, McCulla said that the herbs and spices should be added toward the end of the slow-cooking because then they’re “like sunshine, waking us up at sunrise.”  In using spices and herbs, her advice was to “be careful, but bold,” which means, I think, “when you’ve got it right, go for it.”  She calls it “ramping up the herbs.”


Of course, for those of us in the southwest there is always fresh cilantro to add, as does McCulla, some sass to our fish tacos.      

Copyright © Dana Prom Smith (2013)

Dana Prom Smith and Freddi Steele edit Gardening Etcetera for the Arizona Daily Sun.  Smith emails at and blogs at






Tuesday, November 12, 2013


The Rev. Dana Prom Smith, S.T.D., Ph.D. (11/5/2013)


          Elizabeth Dobrinski heard about the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941, after ice skating on a frozen pond off Schultz Pass Road.  She’d turned 18 the day before.  This coming December 6, she will turn 90, and she as is as close to being fit as a fiddle as most people half her age. 


I told her that I felt old when one of my twin sons retired as a Los Angeles County firefighter and paramedic.  She put her head in her hands, laughing, and said, “How about a grandchild?  That’s when you really feel old.”  Her grandson, Clinton, is a retired firefighter and paramedic from Sedona. 


Elizabeth comes from pioneer stock with two homesteads in her family’s history.  Her maternal grandparents, the Andersons, homesteaded out Fort Valley Road in 1883, where her grandfather, William, nicknamed “Spud,” grew potatoes.  He and his wife, Lorinda, lived at first with three children in a one room cabin without a stove.  Lorinda cooked over a campfire outside.  A city girl from Los Angeles, she wasn’t fond of Flagstaff.   


Her father, William Wallace, and his wife, Ethel, homesteaded out at Mormon Lake in 1909.  He was a farmer, cattle rancher, firefighter, and forest ranger in addition to being one of Teddy Roosevelt’s “Rough Riders” during the Spanish American War (1898).  The homestead is still in the family.  One of her sons, John and his wife, Sharon, live on the land in a large, hand-wrought log house.


Along with her late husband, Maurice, who was superintendant of mails at the Flagstaff Post Office, she raised four other children.  One son, Daniel, is a cook at the Marble Canyon Lodge near Lee’s Ferry.  Another son, David, died of brain cancer at the age of 44.  Her daughter, Lorinda, and her husband, Tom, both now retired, live in Phoenix where he was an engineer with ADOT and she was an accountant.


          She says, “By the time I could walk and follow someone around, I was playing in the dirt.”  It was her favorite pastime in addition to building streets, passes, and tunnels in the mud with the boys down the street.  Loving to play in the dirt and mud as a child is perhaps the best training for gardeners because a gardener had better love the feeling of dirt.  She also rode horse bare-back before she rode saddle.  She says she was a tomboy.


          When her parents moved to Flagstaff, they lived near the city park during a time when there were Pow Wows and cattle would often trample their garden.  Most of the streets weren’t paved. 


          One thing that separates pioneers from people today is the source of fresh vegetables.  The pioneers grew them while people today buy them.  There were grocery stores, but they were mostly stocked with canned goods and food that could be either dried or milled.  As a scion of pioneers, Elizabeth kept on gardening, eventually building a 12 by 20 foot solar heated greenhouse where they grew their vegetables.

Sad to say, her tomatoes were “puny” this year.


          One of her proudest achievements is growing all the flowers, including gladioli, pink and white stock, for her daughter’s wedding at the Federated Church.


          Elizabeth wasn’t home-bound.  Indeed, she says that her grandmother, Lorinda, was “a women’s libber before her time.”  It rubbed off on Elizabeth.  In addition to raising her children, being a wife, keeping a home, and gardening, she had a career, beginning at what would become the Arizona Daily Sun then at the Northland Press for nine years where she says that “book publishing was fun.”  During her time at Northland Press, she became a member of Soroptomist International of Flagstaff where she is a life member.


          Since Flagstaff was a small town, she knew everyone in town, including the Colton’s and the Danson’s of the Museum of Northern Arizona.  After leaving Northland Press, she became Edward (Ned) Danson’s secretary for 17 years, retiring in 1988.  She says all of her jobs were “fun” which may be the reason she’s turning ninety and on the lookout for something to strike her fancy.      

Copyright © Dana Prom Smith 2013

Dana Prom Smith and Freddi Steele edit Gardening Etcetera for the Arizona Daily Sun.  Smith emails at and blogs at




Sunday, October 20, 2013


The Rev. Dana Prom Smith, S.T.D., Ph.D. (9/22/2013)

          Now that the growing season has kissed Flagstaff goodbye, it’s time to pay attention to Karna Otten who wants everyone to have access to farm-fresh fruits and vegetables during the non-growing seasons.  It’s a simple proposition.  Three days a week (Thursday, Friday, & Saturday) she sells fresh fruits and vegetables along with some meats and preserves.  She actually does it all year because many of the horticulturally challenged, read black thumb, savor a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year.  Also, for those of us, the divinely favored, who grow our own vegetables during the summer, it’s nice to buy our fresh fruits and vegetables all year long right after they’ve been picked.  We’ve grown accustomed to the excellence of the fresh.


          Otten’s genius is a fusion connecting local farmers with consumers.  As everyone knows, nearly all of the produce purchased in supermarkets is second or third hand.  The consumer doesn’t know where it comes from or how it’s grown, much less who grows it. Witness the recalls of bagged salads.  Otten’s local farmers are nearby and available.


          With Otten’s program the consumer can talk directly to the farmer, much like my father and mother driving out into the San Fernando Valley in the 1930’s to buy their vegetables and fruits.  At that time, San Fernando Valley was a valley of farms, plots, orchards, and groves.  One time a farmer sliced a watermelon with a knife he had just used to slice a grasshopper.  My mother indignantly insisted on another watermelon.  We’ve lost that connection with the earthiness of life.  In an industrialized commercial society, Otten wants to bring back that connection.


          Through Otten’s organization, Community Supported Agriculture, consumers sign up to buy fresh produce from the farmers.  This way the farmers can plant the number of crops needed.  Also, the consumer will know who grows the fruits and vegetables and how they’re grown.  When we put something in our mouths, we’re better off knowing what it is.


          Even though industrialized agriculture now uses such words as “organic” and “sustainable” in their advertising, the words along with other politically correct words have lost their meaning.  Once a word becomes correct, it has become a substitute for thought and meaning.  The issue is not who can advertize using those meaningless words, but the origins of the produce.  If we know the farm and the farmer, we’re a lot closer to authenticity in our food.


          For the first time in years, the number of farms is increasing rather than decreasing which is a good sign for the health of the nation.   A part of the reason is that consumers are demanding fresher and safer produce from local farmers which means more farmers.  The tide is beginning to turn from mega-industrialized farms to local farms and locally grown produce.   


          One way to test the quality of food in a restaurant is to find out from whom and where the produce comes.  If the restaurateur doesn’t know, then we don’t know what we’re putting in our mouths.  In addition to that, we can assume that if the restaurateur doesn’t know the whence and whom, the food will not taste as good as food made with fresh produce.  A taste test will do, and the best place to start is with the snap beans and tomatoes.  All the customer has to do is ask.  If the restaurateur is baffled or non-plussed by the question, we have our answer.  Caveat Emptor.  Buyer Beware. 


          Otten isn’t only concerned about the authenticity of the consumer’s produce but also about those who can’t afford it.  She gives those buying from our local farmers the opportunity to give a little more so that those on food stamps can also buy fresh produce.  Jesus said, “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”  An act of mercy is the ultimate act of authenticity.


          Karna Otten can be reached at (928) 213-8948 and for the excellence of the fresh.  Her web site is  The address is 116 West Cottage Avenue, Flagstaff. 


Copyright © Dana Prom Smith 2013

Dana Prom Smith and Freddi Steele edit Gardening Etcetera for the Arizona Daily Sun in which this article appeared on 10/12/2013.  Smith’s email address is, and he blogs at   







Thursday, September 26, 2013


The Rev. Dana Prom Smith, S.T.D., Ph.D. (9/11/2013)


          As I tool down the street in front of our house, I pass some lovely gardens as well as some drearily graveled yards, but the garden with which I would collide if I didn’t hang a left at a junction is a sheer delight of colors and shapes.  The flower that has intrigued me the most is a large white peony, partly because I have failed at getting my peonies to bloom for the last eleven years.  


          The garden’s the work of Kristi Baty.  I’ve seen her husband, Ace, a microbiologist who is an associate at W L Gore, doing grunt work around the yard, but the garden is Kristi’s baby.  However, the peony isn’t.  It’s her great, great grandmother’s baby.  The peony is peripatetically genealogical, traveling with familial migrations and generations from Indiana, to Wyoming, to Colorado, and finally to Flagstaff.  It’s a treasured heirloom.


          The garden isn’t Kristi’s only baby.  Along with Ace, she’s raising two teenage girls, and with degrees in cultural anthropology and elementary education she owns and operates Summit Gymnastics Academy through which 400 children pass each week on their way to better balance and health. 


          But on to her garden.  She calls it a mishmash, but it’s really a profusion of colorful plants, several of which are family heirlooms and all of which are perennials.  Her method sounds haphazard, but the result is not.  Some gardens are plotted as though they were geometric exercises, carefully laid out ahead of time on graph paper and precisely executed; however, others are the products of a vision perceived by the gardener, the details of which are seldom known at first.


These gardens unfold as the vision is gradually revealed to the gardener, something like Abraham who “went out not knowing where he was to go (Heb.11:8).”  They require a faith that the vision will ultimately be revealed, perhaps not all at once, but bit by bit.  Faith requires that the visionaries trust themselves enough to live without the certainty of knowledge.  The result is a graceful garden in which all the lines are curved, leading the eye from one space to the next as though the garden were a journey with an intriguing something around the next curve.


          Some of the journeys in the garden lead her into her history and heritage.  Unlike so many rootless people, Kristi has kept faith in her garden with her forebearers.  It is difficult to know ourselves if we don’t know from whence and whom we have come.  In short, her garden has a memory, and as she enjoys her garden, she remembers.


          If Kristi’s garden is a memory filled with ancestors, it’s also a garden filled with love.  She created a bower under some lilac bushes where their daughters, Ellie and Madigan, could hide and read, a place for children.  Off in the corner is a rock garden filled with cascading plants.  There is a patio with tables and chairs for warm weather parties and dinners, but most of all there are the flowers, tulips, daffodils, iris, gladiola, and dahlia, spread throughout beds scattered here and there in the garden.  Her favorite flowers are delphinium, daisy, phlox, sweet peas, and clematis. 


          Save for the concrete driveway and steps in the front and a small pad off the sliding glass doors in the back, there isn’t a straight line in the yard.  The reason is simple.  Straight lines are as dull as dish water and impotent as well.  A skier is all S lines as is the cocked arm of a boxer or quarter back.  Once the skier stands up straight, it’s all over.  When the punch is thrown or the ball passed, the power is spent.  Curved lines are graceful and powerful. 


          The 19th century German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, in Beyond Good and Evil writes:  “Every great philosophy has been . . . . the personal confession of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir.”  So it is with gardens.  It’s the gardener’s personal confession and memoir.  And with Kristi, it’s the personal confession and memoir of her joie de vivre.

Copyright © Dana Prom Smith 2013


Dana Prom Smith and Freddi Steele edit Gardening Etcetera for the Arizona Daily Sun.  Smith emails at and blogs at



Wednesday, September 11, 2013


The Rev. Dana Prom Smith, S.T.D., Ph.D. (8/23/2013)



 Karen Sorensen of Thornagers says that one of her blessings as a gardener is the horses next door.  She’s right.  Having horses next door is a big asset in gardening, especially in Flagstaff where the dirt is so inhospitably rich.  It’s rich in nutrients from all the volcanic debris scattered around the place, but inhospitable because the nutrients are unavailable to the plants.  The problem is that the soil suffers from a want of organic matter, and organic matter not only makes the dirt far more rich and friable but also hosts organisms, especially those strange creatures the botanists call “mycorrhizae.”  Mycorrhiza in the singular, it’s botanically mangled Greek with Latin endings meaning root fungus.


          Mycorrhizae are middlemen, transferring the soils’ nutrients to the plant’s roots, and without them there is no transference.  The technical definition is “a symbiotic association of a fungus and the roots of a plant,” which means they’re not really an object, like a wrench, but a relationship, a dynamic.  Unseen with the naked eye, under the microscope they’re weird looking, like that diaphanous fluff used at Halloween.  Whatever they are, they’re essential which is where the horses next door come in.  Mycorrhizae flourish in compost made of hay.

          In Karen Sorensen’s composting paradise she can use the spoiled hay, bedding, and manure and mix it with the coffee grounds and green kitchen waste for a devils’ brew of compost, and she has lots of coffee grounds and kitchen waste when she caters events.  The nitrogen in the grounds, waste, and horse urine break down the carbon in the spoiled hay and bedding, releasing all manner of botanical goodies for the garden, including mycorrhizae.


          As anyone knows who has eaten the delightful cuisine served by the staff at Thornagers, the main dining room is a splendid baronial affair with a massive fire place, but our concern is what might be called “the outback,” for want of a better term.  It’s a sunny clearing in the forest behind the dining room.  The pleasant and enjoyable surroundings of the baronial dining room and the “outback” are so lovely that they draw denizens all the way from urban Phoenix and points beyond for weddings, receptions, and “every fancy ball.”


          However, our concern is with a green house, a large hoop house, and several raised beds in the outback.  Because of the massive volume of vegetables she uses at her events, she cannot grow all of the vegetables she needs, but she knows where they come from.  So, she focuses on herbs, flowers, and some vegetables hard to find, and, as any foodie knows, herbs are the difference between “plain eats” and fine cuisine.  Something like mycorrhizae, herbs makes things happen.


          The greenhouse and hoop house are set over to the side of the outback.  However, the raised beds, bounded by logs, are scattered throughout the clearing where guests, strolling amongst the tents, sipping champagne and nibbling on canapés and crudités, can savor the beauty and aroma of the flowers and herbs.


In an age of substitutes, modifications, and fillers, authenticity is one of the rewarding experiences in eating the cuisine at the Kilted Cat.  The herbs and flowers have the finest of composted beds, thanks in part to the horses next door.  There is a world of difference between sweet basil freshly picked the morning of its use and a limp leaf which has been hanging around for days in a store after having been processed and shipped from afar.


          One of the consistent themes of modern society is replacement and substitution with the result that we become further and further removed from the natural process.  Industrially produced tomatoes whose only distinction is an astringent taste are not the same fruit as home-grown tomatoes, such as those grown in the Karen’s green house.  Also, there are Karen’s flowers in baskets, planters, and pots.  Food is as much a matter of the eye as it is the tongue.  Karen says:  “Good food starts with good, raw ingredients.”  One sure fire way to get “good, raw ingredients” is to grow them or know where the come from.   

Copyright © Dana Prom Smith 2013


Dana Prom Smith and Freddi Steele edit Gardening Etcetera for the Arizona Daily Sun in which this article appeared 9/14/2013.  Smith emails at and blogs at


Monday, August 19, 2013


The Rev. Dana Prom Smith, S.T.D., Ph.D. (8/13/2013)


          I met my plumber’s wife, Lanie Criner, about ten years ago when I called her husband, Dennis, to repair a leaking pipe.  She accompanied him, carrying several buckets of plumber’s tools, as he wended his way through our garage.  Dennis is a big guy with blue eyes that look straight at you, letting you know that what you see is what you get.  Lanie is petite, but not delicate, strong, a woman full of life and love.  As Dennis wrestled with the leaking pipe, she handed him tools as he asked for them, something like a surgical nurse handing instruments to a surgeon.


          After Dennis repaired the pipe, he introduced Lanie as his wife and began telling us of the history of their relationship.  While a bachelor, he had regularly eaten at her restaurant, My Thai Kitchen, and had enjoyed long conversations at the restaurant with her husband, Walt.  After her husband died, Dennis began working as a part time waiter in the evenings.  Subsequently, they married, and now work together as a team in their plumbing business, Good Neighbor Plumbing Company.


          After several visits to fix leaking pipes, Dennis told us about Lanie’s gardens, showing us several photographs.  Later, I visited them and her gardens.  Dennis proudly showed me a two page note left anonymously at their door.  The first page was drawings of flowers and a greeting, “Dear Garden Lady.”  The second page read, “Whenever I walk past you house, your garden is very pretty, and it makes me smile.  I just wanted you to know that it is a lovely garden.  Have a good day.”


          And a lovely garden it is.  Their house sits high above the street on a plateau so that the front garden is a series of tiers, rising from the street to the plateau.  The soil is rich.  The plantings are random, not chaotic, but random.  Many gardeners follow the French model with geometrical gardens, following the rationalism of René Descartes, the 17th century French mathematician and philosopher.


Lanie’s front garden isn’t Cartesian with precise patterns, but rather beckoning, resembling the patterns of nature.  The effect is that of an organic union, much like a meadow of flowers.  When Lanie finds a flower she particularly likes, she finds a place for it.  One can see why a passerby left the note.  Her front garden would cause a walker to pause, take in the beauty, and then sigh, feeling better for having feasted on the sights, textures, and aromas of her garden.


          All of this brings us to rationalism and gardening.  Botanists are rationalists and orderly, and they need to be.  Gardeners are romantics and sometimes a little off-hand because life and gardens aren’t tidy.


          Dennis’ work in the garden is to build the block walls for the terraces and raised beds which he seems to be delighted to do.  A sign of a good marriage is where the husband and wife are happy fostering their partner’s delights.


          The plateau on which the house sits is host to a series of isolated beds.  Two of the beds are dahlias which Lanie triumphantly announced stay the winter in their beds without being dug up in the fall, stored during the winter, and replanted in the spring.  This is an accomplishment worth noting.  The dahlias are lush, bold, and bountiful which is proof of the pudding.


          There are some apple and peach trees which produce fruit about every ten years which is SOP for Flagstaff’s errant spring times.  Gardeners who plant stone fruit trees in Flagstaff are both stubborn and hopeful.


          And then there is a vegetable garden where everything is rational with straight rows, bursting with good things to eat.  One test of a garden is that it is refreshing to the eye and rewarding to the palate.


          Lanie comes by her gardening honestly.  Raised on a farm near Cebu City in the Philippine Islands, she learned gardening from her grandmother who raised 12 children and lived to be 110.  Preferring to run rather than walk, Lanie possesses the strength of ten and as with people raised close to the soil, her hand is magical in the garden.    

Copyright © Dana Prom Smith 2013
Dana Prom Smith and Freddi Steele edit Gardening Etcetera for the Arizona Daily Sun.  Smith emails at and blogs at