Gardens are unique as a place for creating wonderful memories. My favorite garden is one I saw on a garden tour in Newbury, Massachusetts several years ago. It was not the fanciest, but it was the most personal in expressing the lives of the family that lived there for 3 generations.
Walking up the gravel drive I noticed pachysandra circling the bases of trees. A shaded patio next to the screened porch was made of old brick pavers with moss growing in the cracks. A wrought iron table and chairs invited conversation and relaxation. I could almost hear the clink of ice cubes.
Straight ahead I saw a tall hedge with a narrow opening. Squeezing through, we entered an outdoor room, enclosed on three sides by the hedge and on the fourth by a garden house. The garden house was a small cottage with a roof and three walls, the “missing” wall opened to the outdoor room. It had a soot stained stone fireplace on the back wall and was furnished with well worn upholstered furniture covered with faded chintz. It was the perfect place for a drizzly summer day read or cool spring evening gathering.
The far back of the yard had a large lawn, perfect for games, with the tall hedge corralling both kids and balls, while muffling the sound of excited play.
Back at the house, near the kitchen, was a stand of tall pines. Clustered under the broad branches I saw several small crosses – the graves of several generations of family pets.
This garden is unpretentious, loved and lived in. It offeres places for different activities and even different age groups. It is a garden where wonderful memories are made.
Few of us have a multi-generational home on a few acres of land. But we can rethink our garden. We can create areas within our gardens that support gathering, quiet, contemplation, and active play.
Rethink the interaction between inside and outside.
- In the garden arrange something especially beautiful to be seen from a particular window.
- Inside arrange furniture near that window to encourage connecting with nature.
- Think of how adding lights or a fireplace can make your garden more welcoming in the evening.
- Or simply open your windows and let in fresh air and energized Chi into your home.
What gardens have you known or experienced that create wonderful memories for you?