Fellows Focus: Carolyn Mehran and Vicki Edwards

Excerpted from our Society of Fellows e-newsletter, September 2016

Carolyn and Vicki have known each other for a long time; they live across from each other in San Francisco and both have gardens in the Napa Valley. When it became clear that they both had a passion for gardening, they started sharing their experiences with each other: exchanging tips, recipes, and photos and taking trips together to local nurseries and gardens. Creating a blog seemed like a natural next step. Vicki recounts, “Carolyn suggested we create a blog to have a permanent record of our gardening practices and learnings, and The Blissful Gardeners was born.

The Blissful Gardeners blog is a resource rich in inspiration. From excursions to gardens of all shapes and sizes—public, kitchen, historical, and more—visits to nurseries with tips and planting information, and photos and personal thoughts straight from their own gardens, Carolyn and Vicki offer a lexicon of unique and thoughtful passages on gardening.

Not only is The Blissful Gardeners a resource for eager readers looking to learn more about gardening, but it’s also a personal record of the adventures, discoveries, and knowledge Carolyn and Vicki have shared. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the local nursery and pulled up our site that has a picture of a perennial so they can tell me how it will grow locally,” Carolyn adds.

For both Carolyn and Vicki growing up, gardening meant helping their families grow their own fruit and vegetables—Vicki in northern Minnesota and Carolyn in California, Illinois, and upstate New York—harvesting produce for meals from the garden, and canning and preserving extra for storage. Once they had their own properties with the opportunity to design their gardens, both held on to those memories of picking dinner straight out of the vegetable bed. 

Between them, their Napa Valley gardens host dozens of varieties of fruit trees and several hundred square feet of raised vegetable beds, as well as ornamentals. And both seem to be very conscientious gardeners; for example, a majority of Vicki’s landscaping includes drought resistant plants to minimize water use in a water-stricken California climate, and Carolyn allows time in her planting schedule for rest and amendment between plantings to allow her soil to replenish its vital nutrients. Carolyn and Vicki understand that garden health means human health. Carolyn explains, “nutrition is a huge passion and area of study for both of us, so we especially love learning about the connection between food and health. To me, gardening that satisfies my soul absolutely encompasses beauty, health, and mindfulness.”

Vicki says that it’s no surprise that the Garden Conservancy’s mission aligns well with the values that they founded their blog on: “the garden professionals and enthusiasts involved in the [Garden Conservancy] share the same values as our blog: discovering beauty, health, and mindfulness through gardening, whether created by professionals for others or created by enthusiasts for themselves.” Carolyn and Vicki have already attended several Fellows tours and are gathering new ideas and inspiration from the gardens they’ve visited and the Fellows they’ve had the chance to travel with. And this is just the start of the Blissful Gardeners’ journey—Vicki adds, “I am constantly reminded that there is so much more to learn!

Read more about Carolyn and Vicki’s adventures on their blog: The Blissful Gardeners.

Photos, clockwise from top: Carolyn Mehran and Vicki Edwards, Carolyn Mehran's roses, raised flower beds of Carolyn and Vicki. All photos courtesy of Carolyn Mehran and Vicki Edwards.

Read other recent profiles of members of our Society of Fellows.

Mehren roses
"To me, gardening that satisfies my soul absolutely encompasses beauty, health, and mindfulness."
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