“Many a garden has left its memory with me…” – Colette
Perhaps you are wondering why I am writing about the garden. After all, it is October. And, yes, winter and the holidays are on their way – all too soon. But did you know, now is the time gardeners begin to think about the next garden season? And, their “thyme in a garden.” Gardeners are a hopeful lot – always thinking and planning for the future.
So, let’s talk about your garden dreams (certainly you have them) and exactly what is drawing you to the garden. Undoubtedly, it is plans for gorgeous flowers, a kaleidoscope of colors, shrubbery, trees, luscious vegetables, herbs, lovely sights, and heavenly smells. But, is there something more drawing you – perhaps much more?
Dear friends, it makes me sad, but, unfortunately we live in a world where we are constantly fed a diet of gloom, doom, gore and ugly. This is an assault on our senses and this assault hardens our spirits. But, I am here to tell you, I believe there is beauty and good in the world. Truly, there is. And, to quote my mother, which I so often do, “Honey, you find what you look for.” Truth, isn’t it?
Therefore, let us look to the garden as a respite from the weariness of the world. Taken from the June, 2016, issue of Flower: “From the tickle of grass underneath bare feet to the sweet perfume of antique roses that whisks us along on a sentimental journey, being in the garden means being in the moment. Every sense gets engaged, while the other cares of the world melt away.” Aren’t those words just incredibly beautiful? My goodness, I think so. You see, a garden restores our souls. It is a place to reverse the hardening process, brought about by the assault on our senses. A sweet, fresh, gentle and delightful place. A place to simply, “Be.” The many different symphonies of bird song, the hum of bees and the sound of trickling water lull us to a place of peace. And in this place of peace, our sense of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch is restored. This restoration enables us to see sweet places of fairytale wonder, a multitude of minute details, regain hope and feel the presence of God.
I have known many gardens, had the great joy of planting three, and have had the wonderful opportunity to visit many. Including: The lovely gardens of Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello and many exquisite, private gardens along the Lynnhaven River and Back Bay area of Virginia. Added to this list of glorious gardens, of course is my mother’s garden, where spectacular wide sweeps of blush pink rhododendron were backed by giant hemlocks and flanked along the sides by Bridal Wreath spiarea. You were simply transported to another world. And, I obviously will not fail to mention Crabapple, our home in Virginia. Crabapple was dressed with tall Loblolly pines, which shaded blood red, Tom Knudsen camellias and white, Sister Theresa hydrangeas. And, for fragrance and color, she was drenched in an assortment of over 200 peonies, along with 70 plus roses. I am blessed beyond measure, to have the “memory these gardens have left with me.” And, in each and every one of these magical gardens, I paused and felt a presence calling me to slow down, linger a while, enjoy the beauty and “Be.” I felt a sense of reverence for the peace and loveliness – a sense of gratitude for the privilege to enjoy such an exquisite place.
Planning an enchanted garden takes time. Thereby, fall is the perfect time to anticipate a new season. Contemplate the impact a peaceful garden could make and thereby, enhance the quality of life for you and those you love. Visualize how you would like it to look, be fearless, dream big, but start small. And, for those living in apartments, seek out gorgeous green parks – places you and your family can go and immerse yourselves in beauty and be in awe of the splendor of nature.
In closing, Elizabeth Lawrence wrote the following, in her August 11, 1957, column, Through The Garden Gate in the Charlotte Observer: “This is the gate of my garden. I invite you to enter in: not only into my garden, but into the world of gardens – a world as old as the history of man, and as new as the latest contribution of science; a world of mystery, adventure and romance; a world of poetry and philosophy; a world of beauty; and a world of work.” And, still today, this remains a lovely invitation.
So, follow Elizabeth. Follow her through her garden gate and spend some “Thyme in a Garden.” You will be better for it.
See you soon,
P.S. Don’t forget to plant those spring bulbs. You can plant until mid-November, in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
Additional Information: Elizabeth Lawrence (more on her, later) wrote Through the Garden Gate, a Sunday column in the Charlotte Observer, from 1957 – 1971. Her column of August 11, 1957, mentioned above, was her first column. She wrote a total of 720 columns during her time with the Charlotte Observer. She is also the author of, A Southern Garden, The Little Bulbs and Gardens in Winter.
If you have the good fortunate to come across a book titled: Through the Garden Gate, grab it. It is a collection of 144 columns by Ms. Lawrence and edited by Bill Neal. A marvelous treasure, especially for those who are of the garden world.
Photo Information: Cobalt Dreams, Delphinium; Queen Elizabeth, Rose; Tete-a-Tete, Daffodils.
All plants and statuary are from the Lambiotte garden, Le Jardin.