Nancy Keele and Her Garden

Nancy Keele and
Orange Sherbet Epiphyllum

Nancy Keele lives in one of the cottages referred to as a Southview villa.  Unlike most residents at Samarkand who have either a balcony or a small patio, Nancy has both a small front yard and a rear garden which includes a handsome Canary Island Date Palm where she raises her Epiphyllums.

As told to Phila Rogers (SamNews September 2022)

When I look out into my beautiful gardens, I can’t help but think of my mom, and her influences on my life. She gave me my first two Epiphyllums (“Epies”) and put me on my first pony. As I grew older, to help me develop talents, she agreed to take me horseback riding monthly if I practiced the piano daily.

As an adult I fell in love with the Epies; my collection numbering above 100 before my move to The Samarkand.

Mystic Mood

I fulfilled my dream of having a horse by owning a 13-acre ranch on San Marcos Pass where I bred, raised, and trained Arabian horses. I exhibited in many shows throughout California.

I was the Choral Music director at Santa Barbara Junior High, and at La Colina Junior High School, where I was also involved with Music Theatre productions.

My front walkway garden is lined with Epidendrums, Cymbidiums, and succulents. However, the Epiphyllum “stars” are in my back patio garden. In nature they grow in trees; I grow them in nursery pots. Blooming season is in the spring (March through June).

Impossible Dream
Strictum
Lavender
Anna Purina

Finding Solace

On those days when my mind gets stuck on negative thoughts, I leave my apartment and walk down to the Native Plant Garden. Sitting on the bench, I listen to the soft gurgle of the water flowing out of the top of the sandstone boulder, knowing that in a few minutes birds will arrive for a drink or a bath.

My eyes follow the green slope of plants to the far edge of the garden where a row of dark green California Live Oaks separate us from Mission Creek at the bottom of the hill.

This is your land, our land, and the plants that supported the generations who came before us. Oak acorns ground in stone mortars produced the staple food for the Chumash Indians. I look up to the high mountains to the cliffs of sandstone like the rock in front of me and to the areas of gray-green plants many of which grow in our garden. And then the sky, always the sky, and I am deeply comforted by this enduring landscape.

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