Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pathways to Beauty

 Emerson said "The earth laughs in flowers."

  There was plenty of laughter this weekend for my sister Laurie and I as we attended the Master Gardener tour.  This wonderful tour happens every year and this is the first time I have gone.  My cousin Karen has her garden on the tour this year so that was my incentive. 
Bursting blooms, riotous color and delicate scents captured our attention as soon as we stepped into the first garden.

The humidity has been great for all the hostas this year.

 Wandering through mulched paths into tiny garden rooms we came across small touches of flower amidst the lush greenery. 

 Obviously this gardener does not have male dogs who seem to delight in my yard in changing the color of the hostas.  Is it only in cartoons that the dogs only prefer trees and fire hydrants?  At my house, Oscar prefers the hostas.

 Laurie and I both have shade gardens so it was enjoyable to see the way bursts of color were woven into some very deep shade. 

 Some delicate maidenhair fern that Laurie had to touch to make sure it was real! 
 And garden rooms complete with chandeliers and touches of whimsy.

 I wrote down the name of this lovely tree but of course lost my paper.  The leaves were cream colored with a touch of pink.  The sun shining through made it look more pink than it actually was. 
 Looking at this wonderful display sent us into fits of giggles because it was while standing here I realized that the reason i couldn't become a master gardener wasn't because of lack of imagination, or desire....... or even hard work.  It was the one thing that I saw evident in all these gardens.  MONEY!!!  These wonderful urns, pots and yard art had to have cost a fortune.

 But wait!!  This next garden was beautiful with only rocks, succulents and cacti.  No yard art in sight.  OK....maybe there is hope for me yet.  But the fact that I have no large patches of sun in my yard will probably defeat this idea.
 Beautiful water features meandered along the paths on our tour. 
 The clematis was in bloom everywhere in wonderful colors both in shade and in sun.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that a pesky vine that I rip off my fence every year and last year finally killed, was indeed an autumn clematis.  If I had left it alone it would have bloomed beautifully in August and September.  Thankfully my cousin took pity on my ignorance and sent me home last night with a nice section of one of hers so I can start again -  and this time have patience for the bloom!
 More clematis
Fairies guarded the gardens.  Apparently they come in all varieties.

 Bird baths in all shapes and sizes were tucked under trees and into corners of the garden.
"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck."  Emma Goldman

The fragrance of climbers, shrub roses and tea roses perfumed the air.  There is something sweet and nostalgic about the rose.  Many yards had the wonderful David Austin rose with a fragrance so sweet that I must find it for my own yard!

The fairies in this yard had their own front door at the base of a tree!

And later we found their little village!

One of my favorite gardens was situated on two acres.  The top part of the yard was planned and contained but the back part had paths winding down the hillside, over a bridge and along a delightful creek.  It was hot, the air was humid and even though the trudge back up the hillside was exhausting the narrow path through the woods was still inviting!

Laurie can't resist the lure of the rose, even though several bees were there before her!
My favorite garden belonged to my cousin Karen.  These beautiful roses and larkspur bordered her whole back yard and were the backdrop of her lovely swimming pool!

There was even a little fairy peeking from the flowers and guarding the swimmers 
in her garden!

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead
where there is no path
and leave a trail."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

And so it was a wonderful day, full of beauty, ramblings and laughter.  But most importantly enjoying God's gift of my beautiful sister and the world he made for us!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Wandering the Gardens in my Mind

My needle moved back and forth through the fabric a few days ago as I watched this quilt come to life beneath my fingers while the rain beat against the windows in my sewing room.  The rain this spring has kept me inside day after cloudy day which has been beneficial to my quilting projects but has been a huge hindrance to getting outside to work in my yard.  There is still more mulch to be put down and flowerpots sit empty around the yard, and still it rains.  This spring we were unable to take our usual trip down south in April and I found myself yearning for the colors and scents of the southern spring gardens.

I thought of the clear mountain streams in the Smoky Mountains and imagined that DH and I were once again standing on the rocks mid stream, listening to the river gurgle and splash past our feet.  I wanted to look up into the canopy of trees and know that I was just a little speck in their greatness.

Last spring we spent a week in Key West and I fell in love with the exotic flowers, the beautiful twisted trees and the lovely beaches.  As I threaded another needle I again felt the tropical sun warming my shoulders as we walked toward the Hemingway house.

Beginning to feel a little sorry for myself, I could easily imagine walking down the sweltering sweets of Charleston, SC taking pictures of gardens and homes along the way, each one more lavish than the one before.  I breathed deeply and remembered the scent of confederate jasmine that climbed on trellis and fencepost.  I heard bicycle bells ring as tourists wove their rented bikes past us along the sidewalk.  And then I realized it was quiet outside.  The rain had stopped and there was before me through the window, not a magazine worthy Charleston garden, but my own little garden.
 My climbing roses are starting to bloom.

 The hostas are thriving in spite of a hard and impossibly long winter.
 And when I came home from work tonight these roses in the front yard greeted me.
My garden might not be the exotic, brightly colored gardens of Key West, or a planned and perfect Charleston landscape.  There is definitely nothing majestic about it like the rivers and trees of the Smokies, but it is mine and when I am gone I will have left something of myself here, as well as this quilt that lays on my lap.  And I realize how truly blessed that I am.