By Diane Borden
At the turn, just after leaving the No. 9 green, golfers at Rancho Bernardo Inn encounter a delightful garden along the cart path that curves up the hill toward the Veranda restaurant. This chef’s garden – diverse in color and species and size – was envisioned by Trish Kydd, a member of the gardening team at RBI.
A veteran landscape artist, Kydd created the potager (French kitchen) garden when she began work at RBI in fall 2016. Such a garden encourages the planting of vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs in groups, not rows, near a kitchen, so that the freshest produce may be harvested for meals. What makes the RBI garden unique are the small “sets” within the design itself.
“I try to visualize spaces within the garden that are small vignettes,” Kydd said. “They make the garden more interesting, more accessible and more beautiful.”
One such vignette displays a weathered bench artfully placed just off a rock path among blooming white daisies, inviting a visitor to sit and enjoy the sights, sounds and fragrances of the garden.
“Every time I bring a friend or family member to the Inn, I pile them into our golf cart and drive them over to see the garden,” said Karen Stelman, a member of the RBI Women’s Golf Club. “It is such a beautiful place and constantly changing with the seasons – never a weed, anywhere. Wish I knew how Trish does it.”
Another member of RBIWGC described the experience this way: “After we leave the ninth green, we always slow down the golf cart to see what’s new in the chef’s garden. It allows us to take a breath and momentarily enjoy this fun and inspiring space before we continue on to the back nine.”
(Please click here for more photos of the chef’s garden at Rancho Bernardo Inn.)
Kydd received a bachelor of fine arts degree in theater from Avila College (now Avila University) in Kansas City, Mo., and moved to San Diego in the early 1980s. She said that in the early 1990s, she studied with influential English garden designer Rosemary Verey and later served as the owner and manager of Anderson’s La Costa Nursery in Encinitas for a number of years.
She describes the chef’s garden at RBI as a no-till garden to which she adds compost and mulch but no animal manures and no pesticides. She said that she rotates the crops every three months. In April, for example, she said she had 20 yards of compost hauled in and then she hand-planted more than 1,000 plants. The garden has a drip-irrigation system, and Kydd also waters by hand. She said that she thinks the garden this year was most attractive in June.
Kydd works with the food and beverage staff at RBI to get ideas for the garden, and also researches what garden fare is currently in vogue.
“Trish and her garden have been a great inspiration to the cuisine we feature at the Rancho Bernardo Inn,” said Travis Watson, RBI’s executive chef. “Trish took a blank canvas and turned it into a botanical masterpiece.”
He added: “[She] takes my ideas and suggestions and expounds upon them – and creates a harvestable bounty of edible artwork that anyone who dines with us on property and enjoys our fresh produce has eaten (whether they know it or not). We are truly lucky to have her.”
Among the variety of current plantings are baby purple carrots and turnips, raspberries and strawberries, Anna apples, cilantro, watermelon cucumber, wild Galapagos tomatoes, micro greens (in amethyst and garnet), violets, roses, nasturtiums, wild garlic, amethyst basil, lemon cucumber, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.