I drove over hill and over dale until I found the white house with the green roof – and a welcoming table in the garden. Prettier than the table, and with a smile that said more about welcome than a pretty table, Carol greeted me under centuries old maples and led me into the garden.
Those who are familiar with the Flower Hill Farm landscape through Carol’s gorgeous photographs, can imagine the gardens that meander downhill, and the hill rising in the distance, just now turning into a tapestry of autumn color. And yet to be there under Carol’s sky, and watch the monarchs flitting and resting in her field made for a truly magical afternoon.
When I arrived it was time for my midafternoon snack and Carol had anticipated my need with beautiful little sandwiches and apples from her tree. She made tea and I uncovered the cake I brought while we chattered and compared notes about our life here in the country. Sometimes people who read our ‘country’ blogs may think our life is one long idyll, but we are busy in and out of our gardens and we had a lot to say to each other.
Carol is an artist. I got to see some of her beautiful paintings, as well as more more of her stunning photographic prints. But as we began our walk through the garden it was clear her artistry takes another form in the garden in a way I will never emulate. She prunes! Her trees and shrubs are graceful sculptures, and yet totally natural and seemingly artless.
My photographs will not do justice to her expertise, but I was amazed at how she has trained this hydrangea. I have never thought about pruning my hydrangea for any purpose except keeping it in bloom.
I loved the Three Graces. Carol has placed and pruned these crabapples to make a fruitful sisterhood providing food and shelter for the birds.
As we walked I couldn’t help but think of the lines in the Christina Rosetti poem, “My heart is like an apple tree/ Whose boughs are bent with thick set fruit.” These laden boughs were for the birds, but there were many other fruitful trees, an echo of the fruitful life Carol has made for herself here.
She led me towards a gateway formed by two trees to a curving path that led to who knew what beauty. From a slightly different perspective the trees framed the stark white birches. Light and shadow. Every artist’s friend.
There were so many interesting and beautiful plants to admire as we strolled. After a while I had to hold myself in check because I had barely to express my pleasure at an unusual plant like this pale sedum when Carol would have offered to dig up a root – or to promise one in the spring. This fall is really too dry for transplanting now.
The autumn afternoon was drawing to a close and we had to say – not goodbye – but a bientot. Til soon. Now that I know the road, and know that Carol’s friendship is waiting at the end, the road will be short.
The road to pleasure is also short for those who take advantage of all that Flower Hill has to offer, a B&B retreat, and stunning flower arrangements for every occasion.
This Post Has 13 Comments
What an enjoyable time. I can feel the calm and hear the comradery.
It sounds like you and Carol had a wonderful time. Interesting to see photos of hher garden from a different perspective.
Pat, You are a gifted writer and your words are so kind towards me. Thank you for sharing a lovely beginning of Autumn and friendship. I think it is poetic really . . . that as our gardens are ending their blooms, our knowing is just beginning to unfurl. It sure puts some spring into the fall. It was a perfect day. Your beautifully written post is a lovely recount. ;>)
What a lovely day! And it’s always nice to get to know a kindred spirit.
It was a beautiful day spent with a beautiful person who is generous enough to share her landscape and her view of the world with its wildness and mystery.
So enjoyed Carol’s post and now yours, Pat. Thank you for sharing your delightful autumn visit.
I think your web site is fantastic and that you have made friends with a fellow blogger ! I will definatly be looking in here every day ! Thanx for all your hard work on here !
Pat,I found you trhough Carols blog, I am looking forward to return here and read about your life and thoughts. I am laso living in the countryside, it is very true that people think that life in the countryside is one long idyllic life. But I think just like you and Carol it’s hard work, of course you have the nature and the landscape every day, that’s a gift but garden, house and countrylife is work.. best greetings from Sweden, Sophia
Joey – It is nice to know that garden bloggers are so open and hospitable.
Elaine – Through Carol I feel I am making a number of new friends. What a gift she has given me.
Sophia – I am so glad to hear from a Swedish gardener. My maternal grandparents came from Sweden and is my dear desire to return for a visit.
I well know the joys of visiting other garden bloggers. I wish I had know how close she was to your garden but then our time would have been shortened. Next time.
What a lovely garden Carol has, and through your writing, Pat, I can sense what an idyllic afternoon this must have been. It’s so much fun to meet fellow bloggers and especially to see their gardens in person.
I have so wanted to visit Carol and her beautiful garden. Thank you for taking us along and sharing your views of the garden. gail
Layanee – Next time we’ll go together after our visit to the Smith gardens.
Rose – An idyll and a joy to begin a new friendship.
Gail – I hope you get your turn.