Richard Richardson turned his grief over the passings of his brother and daughter into a magical garden that is now open to the public. The Three Sisters Sanctuary, right next to Richardson’s business Good Time Stoves in Goshen, has been in the making for 18 years. The story of the garden is now told on its own website, along with information about events like concerts and plays, and how you can hold your own event in this amazing space. This Sacred Garden Garden contains a cairn containing his daughter’s ashes.
The garden is made up of circles arranged in the Circle of Life.
The garden is a wonder of ‘hardscaping’. When I asked Richardson where he got all the stone, surely it couldn’t have all been on site, he laughed and said it was all right there, stones going down ten feet deep. This piece of land had been used as a stone dump when Route 9 was being widened.
A few of the enormous stones are made of quartz, a stone that can receive and emit energy. These are carefully placed through out the garden. Here Richardson is in the Garden of Conception, preceeded by a Walk of Courtship, and Gardens of Seduction, and Committment.
The Three Sisters Sanctuary is not only a garden it is an ongoing work of art. Richardson has welcomed, and solicited work from others. Brilliant butterfly mosaics made by a friend are resting in the Butterfly Garden where butterfly plants donated by Annie’s in Amherst bloom is wild abundance.
Although the garden was born out of Richardson’s grief, it is not a place for mourning, but a place celebrating life with riotous exuberance. There is humor as well as beauty. When Richardson saw me looking at his tree house, he laughed and said he always wanted a tree house, but was afraid of heights. He solved that problem!
It took six years to build the ampitheater, with stone donated by the Goshen Quarry. People often asked why on earth he was building an ampitheater and his response was people like Arlo Guthrie and James Taylor, who live nearby, might want to perform there. Destiny can surprise. Concerts and plays have been performed here, and it is possible that Arlo Guthrie may, too.
I did not totally recognize this as a Dragon when I first saw it near the entry, although the head was clearly ferocious.
It was not until I got up close and could look inside the curling body of the dragon that the monster was revealed to me.
Although Richardson’s approach is often fantastic and whimsical, he had a massage therapist help him get the musculature of the dragon’s head correct. The head is placed above a fireplace; it will not breathe fire, but it will breath smoke. And remember, Richardson is a stove man. He knows how to make smoke go where he wants it.
There is much more to this garden. Richardson’s creativity is not limited to the Three Sister’s Sanctuary. What would you do with a bunch of old bicycles? Visit and see.