Time is our checkerboard of dark and bright with peace and turmoil, grieving and delight. And in the end, there is no more time to tell to make amendments; so love and use time well. E. Cartwright Hignett
Not every castle has a garden, but many gardens have a castle.
Luck was with me as we arrived in Scotland to explore gardens. Late August gardens provide the fireworks of Dahlias, colorful puffs of hydrangeas, and the first shades of fall colors in this climate, and I was eager to see it all. We had three weeks to explore, and by the time we turned in our rental car, Rich had driven 852 miles, and we had visited 32 gardens, the big and the small.
I’ve just returned from a three-week trip exploring Scottish Gardens. My husband and I rented a car at the Aberdeen Airport and set off for our adventure. Rich did all the 852 miles of driving with a right-hand drive and a left-hand 6-speed shifter. Our GPS guide was the calm and reassuring voice of the actress Emma Thompson, and we loved her. But it takes both of us to stay focused on driving down shady tiny “B” roads with one-lane bridges, watching out for horseback riders, cyclists, and huge farm equipment along the way.
Returning to Floriade this year was the culmination of a ten-year goal. The last one was so exciting, so beautiful, and inspiring I was determined to return.
Once a decade, the Netherlands Horticulture Council organizes an exposition celebrating and highlighting horticulture’s contribution to life. The event is a World’s Fair of horticultural products, innovations in food production, and the beauty of plants in all forms. Participants from around the world showcase their garden style and their premium exports from their part of the planet.
I am recovering from a fever. Tulip Fever. Seduced by their charms and captivated by their colors, petals, fringes, and the brief burst of beauty heralding the arrival of spring, I despair from the longing to possess these flowers in my garden.
“When it is Spring, it is best to believe in something,”* and I believe in celebrating flowers.
Fortunately, I am not alone in this belief. All around the world, flower festivals, home garden tours, and flower shows offer an immersive experience in color, fragrance, form, and design, all in celebration of flowers. I’ve been seeking out these experiences for years, I encourage you to set out on travel adventures to experience these extraordinary events celebrating flowers.
Valentine’s Day is my favorite celebration, and yes, I know it isn’t a holiday, it is a marketing event. While it seems so commercial today, I am surprised to discover it has always been about marketing! In the late 1800s, Richard Cadbury needed to sell more chocolates to use his company’s cocoa butter surplus. Victorians were great fans of Valentine’s Day; they expressed their love in elaborate greeting cards (postage was affordable.) Chocolate became available to the masses (sugar had become cheaper), so Cadbury created a moment of marketing magic, the heart-shaped chocolate box. This beautiful box was sold as a dual-purpose gift because after your sweetheart ate the chocolates, she could use the heart-shaped box to store love letters and romantic mementos.1 In the US, Hershey chocolates made their famous kisses in 1907 continuing the romantic alliance.2
I gave up growing roses in my Arizona garden years ago. I found them demanding and disappointing. I virtually stopped buying cut roses as well since their life span seemed incredibly brief. But I have just returned from a trip to Ecuador, where roses reign supreme, and I have an entirely different view of the world of roses.
“Sometimes people go to extremes and create eccentric, fantastic, obsessive gardens that linger in one’s memory and become tourist meccas.” Diane Ackerman, Cultivating Delight