Autumn in the Rosehaven Cottage gardens: Pomegranate on abalone
There were a number of things left in the garden from the two previous owners when we bought our house that would become Rosehaven Cottage. But they were hidden like buried treasure.
One such treasure was the pomegranate bush that had been cut to the ground. Not one limb remained. I didn't know it was there until it started sending up shoots from the ground. I wondered what it was for a while, but it didn't take long for me to recognize its shiny thick leaves on straight light branches with a thorn here and there. It was indeed a pomegranate. Over the past 10 years, I've let it grow under the supervision of my gardener's shears, and it has rewarded us magnificently with a beautiful bush that now towers at least 12 feet over our heads. In late spring, its tropical looking deep coral-hued blossoms delight us and the hummingbirds alike. By mid summer, those blossoms have turned into green orbs hanging like ornaments on the boughs of the bush. By the first day of autumn, the orbs have taken on a lovely blush, and by October, the rosy skins of the fruits are bursting open to reveal the glistening ruby jewels within.
Another treasure we found throughout the garden were empty abalone shells from the former owners' abalone expeditions in the San Francisco Bay in years past. Some shells were embedded in the concrete half-walls of a dilapidated covered lanai at the back of the garden. Other shells I found in piles under a few layers of fresh earth formed from leaves and debris left to compost. Each shell I've found (intact or otherwise) I've added to a collection that dots the edges of the pond I dug the first winter we were here. It seems fitting to have the abalone at waters edge, catching rainwater for lizards and other small critters to drink from.
The pomegranate bush grows at the pond's edge as well with its autumn fruit often falling on the stones and abalones in its shade, thus making pomegranates on abalone a common sight here in Rosehaven Cottage's autumnal gardens.
All images, photos and writing