In part 1 of my post on the Smith-Gilbert Gardens we toured last week I stopped at the rose garden. I took many pictures of these roses as they were still quite lovely under the warm August sun. I had a rose garden once, before I started to go back to work full time, about 120 hybrid teas, a dozen Old Garden roses, half dozen each of floribundas and grandifloras. One of my favorite roses Double Delight was at the Smith-Gardens, shown below. (I am posting many pictures – they will look much better if enlarged – click on pictures twice to see them better.)
The hybrid teas are so elegant with their long stems, but the roses with just 5 or 6 petals are very delicate and their stamens stand out in contrast to their soft petals. As for the Old Garden roses with their multitude of petals their nostalgic charm is precious, too. I love them all.
We went back to the Smith-Gardens this week to see more sculptures we had missed last week. Near the rose garden is a circle of five prayer flags inscribed with messages of happiness, long life, prosperity, luck and goodwill to those who are close and far.
Smith and Gilbert traveled to the kingdom of Bhutan in the Himalayas and decided to include these flags in their gardens. The flag colors represent the elements of earth, water, fire, cloud and sky.
For thousands of years prayer flags have been hoisted in Bhutan, Tibet and other cultures in the Himalayas. Buddhists have planted these flags outside their homes for the wind to carry the beneficent vibrations across the countryside toward all beings. These prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom. They do not carry prayers to “gods” but mantras that, when blown by the breeze gives the wind the opportunity to activate the blessings and spread the compassion around the world.
Further down were vibrant bushes of coleus, a tall type of daisy, flowering shrubs and dainty wild flowers on the ground.
Not to worry - we were not rushing as there were too many interesting plants and pieces of art to admire, such as “Transformations” (1994) the group of pieces by American artist Linda Cunningham.
She slightly carves rocks, keeping the natural qualities of the stones then adds steel beams or bronze forms to create pieces that remind one of the rocks in Asian gardens displayed for contemplation and meditation. Art does not dominate nature, in the Asian philosophy, nature influences art.
Walking along a shady path we stopped to admire Marsha Pels piece which is called “Woman and Dog” (1986) in the garden brochure. In fact it is the patined cast bronze memorial of the artist and her first dog “Seamus.” It really conveys the love between the woman and the dog. I could not decide how to photograph it and took pictures while turning around it.
The tea house was coming into view. No one was there. I wished I had a book with me so that I could stop in this peaceful place for a while.
I could hear some rushing water so I kept walking. I passed another small pond with a tempting bench
but the sound of water was very close and I had to take a look.
I followed the little stream
to this small, but spectacular, waterfall.
The water looked so cool - I would have liked to get close and touch it, at the top
or at the bottom of the fall, in the pool.
After a last look at the waterfall – and at least 30 pictures of it, I walked back up the path, passing more flowers,
and another sculpture - a piece by Tom Suomalainen, a Minnesota born artist of Finnish ancestry.
Even without the sculptures, a walk in this garden would be a great pleasure because of all the large old trees on the property.
Some trees carry little houses for birds.
I always gaze up at large trees to look for nests, or birds – or planes – or to just look at the sky and clouds through the branches.
People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh. Vietnamese Buddhist monk, poet, born in 1926 and living in France
More to come later...