Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet (near Myrtle Beach), South Carolina, celebrates the holidays with Nights of a Thousand Candles. I was there this December, and I will say I have never seen anything like it in all my holiday garden experiences. There is so much I could say about this incredible garden, but I’m going to let the photos attempt to share the magic.
Here’s something worth celebrating, and it’s not National Walk to Work Day (April 1) or Lima Bean Respect Day (April 20). Instead, it’s a yearlong celebration of the first American Landscape Architect, Frederick Law Olmstead.
There will always be work to do in a garden, but why create a bit of heaven on earth if we don’t occasionally sit and feast our eyes on the beauty right in front of us?
For those of us who love flowers, it is hard to imagine anything more delightful than Daffodils. This sunny yellow flower trumpets the return of spring showing up in gardens, paintings, and poems. Its arrival promises to end gray winter days. If they are not sprouting up in your garden, you may find bundles of closed buds appearing in markets in early March. We snatch them up to bring the promise of sunshine into our homes. They are for me an addiction, I am determined to see them open and believe in the season to soon follow. The sweet scent entices me to close my eyes and think of green shoots, fertile soil and blue skies. Addiction may be the right word as “Victorians once thought the scent of daffodils to be as dangerous as any narcotic.” (Kingsbury) We truly can be made to be fearful of anything.
When you really, truly, deeply love gardens you are inspired to share this love with all you meet. When your work in landscape design spans 40 years, while earning you and your landscaping firm 250 design awards, recognition from three US first ladies, (Johnson, Regan, and Carter) and every day you have ideas about what you would like to grow, why not make a garden as a gift to the land you love? Create the garden on land in the south, where your family has deep horticultural roots, where your grandmothers passed on their love of gardening to you. Seriously, why not?
U.S. National Arboretum
U.S. National Botanic Garden
Lost in the nonstop news coming out of Washington D.C. today is news of the remarkable treasures of our U.S. National Arboretum & Botanic Garden, “Where Science meets Beauty”.
Gardens are my happy place, a refuge from the news, traffic, noise, and security checks. I embrace the blooms, the design, the human touch on a patch of the planet. It is a piece of heaven right under my feet.
Bartram’s — An American Garden
Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love, and for the men who gathered there to lay out the foundations of our democracy. This is where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the Constitution written. What many people don’t realize is that Philadelphia also claims to be America’s garden capital, boasting 30 public gardens within 30 miles of Philly.
Visiting arboretums in my travels I naturally find myself walking in the woods. I enjoy the shade, the champion trees, meadows and blooming spring ephemorals such as jack in the pulpits, trillions, wood poppies, and may apple. Trees are the stars with their gnarly trunks, amazing branching structures and leafy canopies overhead. In spring the green color of new leaves is bright and clean.
It’s May in Pennsylvania, a month which bridges spring to summer. Gardens are the reflection of everyone’s hope that warmer temperatures and easier times are truly here for the season. Life moves so quickly and a garden clearly reminds us of this. Longwood Gardens has a wisteria garden. I visited there on May 13 and the wisteria was glorious. Purple and white blossoms hung in ringlets from gnarly, woody trunks. The scent and the color was magical. May 23 I returned to Longwood, and the wisteria was without color. The magic was gone, green was the only color. Tendrils of new growth reached out into thin air. Wisteria is a vine which can grow so vigorously with so much power it can move foundations, yet it’s beauty is so fleeting. How is it that something can be so beautiful so briefly? It is a flash of magic, it is a moment to be noticed and enjoyed. If you have made room in your garden for wisteria you understand its incredible power to bewitch and beguile your senses. If you haven’t experienced the brief beauty of a full bloom of wisteria it is impossible to appreciate how mystical it can be. Life’s beautiful moments are brief. Sometimes you simply stand still and enjoy the sparkle. Don’t miss it!