Today we’re introducing a new series on the Good Food Blog. Our Edible Garden Profiles will showcase the abundance and variety of edible gardens in Southern California.
Jane Seymour is a multiple Emmy and Golden Globe winner. She is well known for her role in the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die and her portrayal of “Dr. Quinn” on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman which ran for six seasons. When Darby Maloney, Producer of KCRW’s The Business, visited Seymour’s house for a screening of her forthcoming film Austenland, she discovered that the English-born actress has quite the green thumb. She and her husband landscaped their own hillside garden without the help of a landscape architect.
Below she shares her love of snow peas, Ottolenghi cookbooks and planting in barrels.
Did you grow up with an edible garden?
Yes growing up my family did have some vegetables and fruits in our garden and I used to love growing and picking them. So I had an edible garden from the time I was a little girl. I’ve always been very involved with planting and growing my own fruits and vegetables in England.
What inspired you to plant your garden?
James, my husband, was very keen on gardens. I love flowers too so we decided together to really have beautiful flowers and vegetables in our garden. When I grew up that was something I had loved and James had loved too.
Do you still shop at the market or can you depend on your garden for all of your fruits and vegetables?
I don’t need to buy very many fruits or vegetables anymore from the market. We tend to eat whatever’s in season and what’s growing and very rarely do we have to add anything to it.
What are your favorite crops this time of year? And what do you like to do with them?
We have broccolini which I love. I love cooking with the Ottolenghi recipes. I will cook broccolini with garlic and peppers. It’s a really delicious dish. I love snow peas. We have those every day. We have lettuce, garlic and fresh basil from the garden. I have my own salad dressing that I like to make with balsamic vinegar and really fine olive oil. We make our own guacamole with our own avocadoes, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.
I also love artichokes and we have a lot of those and arugula. We have a lovely spicy arugula that has a good bite to it.
We have all kinds of citrus. We have the most amazing blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries. So I will quite often go down and eat my breakfast and lunch while wandering around the garden (bushes).
Your garden is on quite a steep slope, was it challenging to plant in such a unique environment?
By planting on that slope we have managed to stop the erosion that was naturally happening to the hillside. We have managed to save it from sliding, which it was doing beforehand. It’s a bit of a challenge, but the plants seem to love the environment and we have chosen to plant vegetables and plants in the areas that they would most benefit. We make our own mulch and we make our own soil. We do everything in house.
Did you work with an edible landscaper to help create the foundation for the garden?
We do not use an edible landscaper. We landscaped our own edible garden and it’s constantly changing depending on the time of year and the kind of food we want.
We like to have organic fruits and vegetables. We have a lot of things growing in barrels.
How do you irrigate all of your fruits and vegetables?
We irrigate underground with a drip system.
Tell us about the sculpture in your garden.
The sculpture in the garden is a seven foot tall bronze sculpture of the open heart with a very specific finish that I designed as well. This is a sculpture that I created from my original open hearts collections. It’s a piece that I love and I had it cast for my birthday last year. People who come over love to sit in it and pose and have their photograph taken in it. It’s a wonderful piece and we are hoping to have sculptures like that in public places in the future.