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Gettin’ Fresh with Chantal

With The Horticult, nothing is garden-variety!

Friends with summer houses are good. Friends with gorgeous houses are better. And then there are those gorgeous friends we half-crush-on/half-befriend, who post jaw-dropping pics and tips from their gangster-level D.I.Y. backyard gardens. These people are unequivocally “our people.”

It all started with a invite to peep her “little garden project,” and ended with our jaws in the dirt. SS girl Tiffany J. Davis popped in on San Diego lovely Chantal Aida Gordon—the scribe and green-thumbed goddess behind gardening blog The Horticult—to take in the sights, smells, and fresh-squeezed goodness she cultivates on the daily.

6:20 a.m. My first alarm goes off. Simulated sunlight and the sound of digital birds flood the room. I hit snooze.

6:30 a.m. Alarm clock goes off again, plus my iPhone alarm. I scroll through garden photos on Instagram, browse e-mail and get some reading done. Some days it’s a novel for my MFA program at Warren Wilson College, like Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch—so good—and sometimes it’s a horticulture book. Today, I’m reading The Lotus Quest by Mark Griffiths—his writing makes a single flower endlessly, epically fascinating. Jamaica Kincaid’s My Garden is also a great read for garden lovers. My husband Ryan Benoit is a furniture designer; he built our bed with a headboard of midcentury modern-inspired slats—I like to hang a few books on them so they’re close at hand in the AM.

6:50 a.m. I tear myself away from The Lotus Quest, brush my teeth, put on workout clothes, and do push ups, squats, and triceps presses on the TRX strap we attached to our big beloved guava tree. Exercise to the sound of (analog!) birds overhead.

7:05 a.m. A quick putter in the garden. I deadhead the drooping ranunculus stems and the faded poppies. It recently rained like crazy, so no need to water. (Plus many of our plants are on a drip system.) The garden looks mostly perky after the storms, although our cacti are a bit like, “WTF, we didn’t sign up for this.”

7:10 a.m. Wrestle down some breakfast. Pick a few oranges from our tree for a glass of lassi.

7:13 a.m. Make orange-mango lassi for Ryan and myself. I look forward to this tart start to the day. [Stay tuned for Chantal’s lassi recipe!]

7:23 a.m. Take a quick shower

7:30 a.m. Skincare, hair, and makeup while listening to Radiolab’s podcast. Marble & Milkweed’s Rose & Chamomile Facial Scrub feels and smells like teatime for your face. Fresh’s Seaberry Moisturizing Oil is filled with restorative botanicals and isn’t timid about being an oil—it’s very nourishing. I also use Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer, Skyn Iceland eye cream, Benefit’s Yes, They’re Real mascara, and Neutrogena sunblock. Clinique’s All About Lips and then Nars’ lipstick in ‘Valparaiso.’ I brush in some Sally Hershberger Hyper Hydration to refresh my hair.

For body cream, Korres’ Guava body butter is super rich and has a wonderfully subtle scent—excellent synergy with our favorite backyard tree! Clarins’ Hand & Nail Treatment Cream rescues my garden hands.

7:45 a.m. I give myself a spritz of Gucci Rush, which I’ve been wearing off and on since college. Maybe I love it because it smells like both flowers (jasmine, gardenia) and food (peach, coriander)!

7:46 a.m. Put some clothes on: Groceries tank, J Brand jeans, Gucci jacket, and these rad floral-print Italian pumps by Charlie by Matthew Zink.

7:51 a.m.I make coffee with our siphon using beans from our favorite shop, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. Add sugar, frothed almond milk and cinnamon.

8:00 a.m. Breakfast time — half a grapefruit and toast with cream cheese mixed with fresh dill from our herb wall, topped with gravlax. I eat while reading the news.

8:15 a.m. I put on some rings and a turquoise cuff

8:16 a.m. Finish my coffee at the outdoor coffee table.

8:21 a.m. Grab an Instagram shot of something interesting budding or blooming in the garden before heading out with Ryan, my husband and blogging partner, for some tree stalking. Spring is definitely in the air!

Photography by Ryan Benoit