First, I want to thank my readers and those who comment, especially, for their patience. I went out of town again, and there are so many things now starting to crowd the calender! I am willing to bet that this is happening with many of you, my friends. But my out of town trip also inspired this post. I had a chance to visit my uncle in Baltimore, Maryland and take a tour through his garden. His garden is representative of those which, for me, hold the greatest attraction.
Attending a type of conference that I felt would not need photos I was without the camera …. so there are only word pictures. I also regret not having pictures of the fine repast presented with the loveliest hospitality and flair from dear Mary Jeanne. She promised to give me the recipe for her Butternut squash soup, which she served in lovely little pumpkin shaped ceramic bowls; I would love to present it to readers in time for their holiday menus.
Since my uncles opinion of his garden is that it is at its best in spring and in early fall, I hope to make a photo essay in the spring, if it is at all possible… and you will understand why in just a minute. It is the sort of place that you want to visit more than once and bespeaks of pictures filled with seasonal delights. Then perhaps we can visit the garden together with more than our imaginations.
… but for now, the tour from what is one of those precious inner memories we often believe we do not have the time to create:
My Uncle and his wife have made a lovely piece of paradise in their home and gardens on a wooded hillside in Maryland. It is a personal garden, a garden in state of change as new plans are implemented, and old plans are revised. It is a garden with love, with many well chosen plants, with trails and thoughtfully situated seats, as well as personally quirky ornaments. It is a garden with a story.
I love a garden with a story! Even at the end of its better seasons, when you only imagine the owners description of the fine textured and widespread azalea in all its spring glory, or the the trees overhead in their apex of autumn glory, even then it is full of interest and beauty. And its story is one of loving choices, high hopes, and gentle touches. Such a garden breathes peace, and holds its owners love for you to experience and enjoy.
After the finest, fluffiest omelet, made in the French manner, good coffee, southern ham, a simple and delicious orange and banana fruit cup, and buttered toast were consumed, all the while looking out into the soft late autumn morning at the dining room window, we progressed into the garden tour. Stepping from the entry deck into a view of “Mary Jeanne’s” garden, we have many small features close to the house to inspect. A narrow grass path leads by the evergreen azalea and its companions to an herb garden with Mary Jeanne’s garden on a small rise. It is enclosed with a fence and entered through a gate – a flower lovers garden even in latest autumn. A pretty Southern, painted iron bench speaks of satisfied moments in golden afternoons; gazing first at the cozy home before looking from its gardened enclosure through the trees and up at the sky with the attendant birds and squirrels busy about their daily searches for food and lending their chatter and song. A perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and warm conversation with a friend.
We turn to the entry, which has bold choices of clump grasses, evergreens and an Acuba (which I had to ask about, because we can’t grow that here in Ohio). The Acuba bush looked familiar to me, though. I think I had it as a small houseplant once- it is a handsome bush. In all, it is an interesting mix which I really enjoy at the entry since it intrigues the gardening instincts in a person at once!
We then traversed back across the deck to take the trail into the wooded part of the garden. Wending along a little woodsy path with pauses along the way, particularly planned, pathside gardens invite a closer look and are slated to be stands of spring flowers (only imagined during Halloween season). We then enter a full stop of a quiet stand of pines, the floor covered with pine needles and with a small bench inscribed with the passage from Ecclesiastes 3:1 facing a small patch of Zen garden. There my Uncle explains the very personal significance of this place, and its transcendent beauty resonates as we pause there.
We look over the fall of the ridge and future plans of a new trail before moving through the pine stand into a bend… around which is a very surprising part of the garden unseen from the other direction. Or maybe just unexpected from this direction, however it is- it is a garden incorporating a number of grasses in one part, a large sweep of daylily, and the working part of the garden: tomatoes, a fig tree, raspberries, and other table delights enclosed in “Fort William”, to fence off the deer who have made themselves guests, a bit too comfortably.
Making our way past the little red barn with the door knocker and all…. it was time for me to gather my things and rush back to my appointed rendezvous all too soon. But refreshed by the lovely introduction to a garden of peace, meaning, and joy before heading home.
And those, my friends, are my most favorite sorts of gardens.
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© 2010 written for Ilona’s Garden Journal. Copyrights apply.