Time in a garden is my favorite way to enjoy the day. Yet how do I know how many hours have flown by as I continue wandering down the garden path? Happily, I discover a sundial, often surrounded by herbs, centered as a focal point in a sunny patch of the garden. I’ve always checked the time on a sundial. Just looking at one makes me think my garden isn’t complete without a sundial.
The Tucson Botanical Garden (TBG) is a green oasis in central Tucson. Spring is a wonderful time to visit, the aloe alley is in bloom, the barrio garden bright with spring color, the world class cactus collection is flowering and the blue and white garden is flush with the new growth of herbs.
“We are perishing from want of wonder and not from want of wonders, GK Chesterton”
During 2015 I visited nearly 100 gardens in a dozen states and every garden delighted me. Reflecting on my garden adventures I have looked through the photos and notes of my travels and found a few I want to share with you. While the gardens I write about here are all unique and worthy of a visit for so many reasons when you go there will be something new and interesting to see. Here is the most memorable moment discovered just when I wandered through the garden.
Monet wrote of his pond at Giverny,
“It took me a long time to understand my water lilies. I had planted them for the pure pleasure of it and I grew them without thinking of painting them…And then, all of a sudden, I had the revelation of the enchantment of my pond. I took up my palette. Since then I’ve had no other model.”Monet’s Water Lilies, Vivian Russell
The Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island in Washington State is a unique public green space, often referred to as both a garden and an arboretum. The word reserve is defined as a tract of land set aside for special use. The 150 acre sanctuary is not a place of formal flower gardens, but it is a garden created by an exceptional couple who lived in a French country-style house overlooking Puget Sound. Surrounded by forested lands, they worked to discover a way to arrange the plants to create a place where “one can come for a walk in the woods.”
“What makes gardens especially interesting is that making one constitutes creation of a new world–our own world.” – American Eden, Wade Graham
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now. – Chinese Proverb
Arbor Day in the U.S is celebrated on the last Friday in April. In Arizona, we have many good times to plant trees scattered throughout the year so this date is a bit arbitrary in our region. Still it is a significant day to contemplate trees. The Arbor Day Foundation’s mission is to encourage us to Plant, Nurture and Celebrate Trees.
A Small Garden
The Anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.” Substitute “committed gardeners” in this thought and the results DO change our world in immeasurable ways. Master Gardener Park in Port Townsend, WA demonstrates the power of passionate committed gardeners. The city’s smallest park, a small triangular shaped patch of earth bordered on all sides by intersecting streets, is now a beautiful garden.
Enter Into The New
As the new year stretches out before us fresh and full of possibilities many of us pause to mark the transition with resolutions, lucky foods and personal traditions. These actions help frame our expectation of what the new year will bring. We approach the new year nearly holding our breath in anticipation of what will come.
Friends planning a visit to a new garden struggled to pick the best time to go, wanting the garden to be at its’ peak perfection. Predicting the weather, wondering if it would rain, if the climate would be just right for the flowers to bloom they struggled to match their schedules to the hoped for perfect visit. Poet William Brown wrote “There is no season such delight can bring as summer, autumn, winter, spring.” When is the best season to visit a public garden? When will the garden reach its’ perfection? Whenever you get yourself to a garden, I believe you can find something good.