Thursday, September 19, 2013

End of summer at the Smith-Gilbert Gardens

In just a few pages I'll be finished reading my current book.  The book is one I found at a flea market.  It is very old - I like these types of books as authors write sincerely (I hope) about current events in their life time.  I can place myself back then with him or her.  This book, published in 1890, is "A Frenchman in America" by Max O'Rell.  He describes the trip he took in the winter of 1888-1889 to the US and Canada.  Some of the remarks he makes could be applied to today, such as many Americans eat their meals too fast and don't take time to enjoy them, and that was back in 1889!

Since the weather has been so nice I closed my book and we went back to the Smith-Gilbert Gardens.  I wrote several posts about these gardens.  When we visited them the first time in August 2011 I gave the history of the gardens and you can read it here.  I wrote three more posts about them (here, here, and here.)  The gardens are only about 4.5 miles from our house.  After walking with the crowds at the Decatur Book Festival and the Marietta Art in the Park it was a nice change to walk in deserted gardens.  People may visit them on week-ends but when we went, last week on Tuesday September 10th, and again yesterday, Wednesday 18th, we only saw a couple of people who were leaving.  Only one tree was turning gold; most of the others are still green.

Last week we spent most of our time at the Bonsai Garden and the Rose Garden.  Yesterday was spent at the Rose Garden again, then walking around the ponds and the waterfall.  I took many pictures of course (250+) - more than I can show here.  If the rain we experienced all summer made me a bit sad and depressed, the nice weather and low humidity - 82 F / 28 C last week and 77 F / 25 C yesterday brought the sunshine inside and out.  More than the weather, though, being among the 3,000 species of plants in the gardens, walking on the lush woodland paths, listening to the sound of rushing water and the calls of the birds - how can one not feel contented?  Just after a couple of hours in these gardens and any stress, worry, problem or sadness I may have had are all gone and forgotten.

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth
are never alone or weary of life.
- Rachel Carson, American Conservationist, 1907-1964

After walking by the Hiram Butler House (circa 1882) - the former home of Richard Smith and Dr. Gilbert, I saw pretty purple flowers around a sculpture I had not noticed before.  It is called "Transformation" and was made in 1990 of stoneware by Tom Suomaleinen (American, born in 1939.)

 Going by a large brown clay pot I saw an orange butterfly.  It kept flying away but finally stopped on a daisy and I could take its photo.  (Click on collages twice to enlarge.)

Then I could see the rose garden.  I have traveled far to visit rose gardens, such as the International Woodland Park Rose Garden in Seattle, Washington, the South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes, California, the Columbus Park of Roses in Columbus, Ohio and the rose garden at the Malmaison Castle near Paris, France.  I also took many film pictures at the small rose garden when we stayed at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC., and I used to have a 150 rose garden many years ago.  Last year in May we visited the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in New York and I spent hours in the rose garden there (will write a post on this in future.)  But now, I can be in a beautiful rose garden very close to our home.  My husband usually goes ahead to other parts of the gardens as I stay so long among the roses where I am surrounded by beauty and lovely fragrances.

 It is almost October and the roses are still giving a good show.  I truly believe I could stay among the roses all afternoon.  Here are some of them.

Some of these roses I know very well as they were in my garden, too.  Double Delight was one chosen by my daughter and is lovely at any stage of its bloom.

Dainty Bess is one of my favorite and true to its name.

There are so many varieties of roses - all beautiful, as the little white rose called Iceberg in the bottom left of the collage below.

One of the most heat tolerant and hardy of roses is the warm butter-yellow rose called Julia Child in the US.  In the United Kingdom they changed its name to Absolutely Fabulous, but whatever its name, it is a lovely and strong floribunda rose.  The brilliant happy yellow color of the rose goes well with Julia Child, American Chef and author (1912-2004.)

But there was more to see.  I found my husband partially hidden by giant leaves near the entrance to the Bonsai Garden.  The informative panels explain well how to grow Bonsai trees.  (Don't forget to click twice on collages to be able to read the panels.)

The Japanese art form of growing Bonsai trees is thousand years old.  A gentleman was in this garden and explained to me that some of these trees had been cultivated in the ground for up to 20 years or more.  Every year or so the trees have to be dug up from the ground and the roots cut down so the trees can stay in a dwarf state.  You certainly have to be a patient person to grow bonsai!  But it is said that the primary purpose of growing bonsai is for contemplation ... I was able to contemplate quite a few aesthetic specimen.

Time for a break though.  We walked through shady and sunny paths to arrive at the little picnic area.  It will be a while until leaves turn gold - maybe early November.

I had brought a small piece of home baked fresh fig cake and our strong expresso blend coffee.  I also picked up two coffee mugs - those we received as a souvenir for going through the North Cape in Norway while aboard the Lofoten.  It was so peaceful and quiet in the picnic area - we should come more often to drink our second cup of coffee.

But we could not linger as we still wished to go watch the Koi fish swimming in the front water garden pond and the birds splashing in the large bird fountain.

To get back to the back pond and waterfall I walked by pretty little wildflowers and other exotic species.  

I found the waterfall - softly gurgling and soaking the rock boulders.

 Then I walked down the little stream and stopped to sit on a bench and listen to its flowing sound as it tumbled over the rocks.  From my bench I could see the small pond bordered by large green leaves vegetation and could smell the fragrant lilies.

Sitting in the middle of this little green oasis my head was clear of life's demands - just the birds and the water made a small babbling noise.

Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad, 
whatever is done and suffered by her creatures.
All scars she heals,
whether in rocks or water or sky or hearts.

- John Muir, Scottish-born American Naturalist, 1838-1914


Elephant's Child said...

Thank you so much. The peace and serenity of these gardens has travelled through the ether and settled here as well. And is much appreciated.
I am very impressed that you can put a book down with only a few pages to go - the gardens would have had to wait for me to finish. And I too love just that sort of book.

David said...

Vagabonde, Lovely gardens and your photos show them off very nicely! You do take some terrific pictures... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I haven't had that much time this year to visit gardens like I have done in years past so it is very nice to see your pictures. Since you once lived in Ardmore ( you mentioned that in a comment to me once), did you ever have the opportunity to visit Lonwood Gardens in Delaware ( about 30 minutes away). It is magnificent!

DJan said...

I love your pictures, especially the roses. I gazed at them until I swear I could smell them, too. :-)

bayou said...

So beautiful and I love the idea of a wee picnic :-). Those purple flowers are Verbena bonariensis, I used to have them but the last winters were too cold and they did not self-seed again. I love them because they attract so many butterflies. All those roses are stunning, they can now enjoy your dry and sunny weather. We too, love old books and like to read them. Thanks for this lovely stroll! said...

Bon jour, Vagabonde..
I so much enjoyed your tour of the gardens..
The purple flowers around the little statue is called Verbena.. i have them growing tall at the front of the cottages.
What a great collection you had of 150 rose bushes.. I one day would love to achieve that.! I have about 40 bushes.
Your photos are stunning that you took. The Bonsai and the waterfall . You live in a beautiful area of the US. Thank you for sharing such beauty with us. A most enjoyable post.
wishing you a happy weekend.

Frances said...

Vagabonde, that garden is surely a wonderful place to visit again and again. I enjoyed your photos so much, and remain surprised not to see more other people also strolling around, experiencing all that beauty.

Bonsai is a very interesting art. In Virginia, we once had a next door neighbor who little by little created a beautiful Japanese garden in the back yard, with a pool, bonsai trees and other traditional features. When he and his family moved to another house, he took his bonsai plants with him, and the new neighbors little by little dismantled the garden.

Such is nature, botanic and human, I guess!


Rosaria Williams said...

You are a most generous writer, taking us along, past the familiar and the sometimes special, pointing us to examine the truly spectacular. What a marvelous time we have in your company, dear Vagabonde.

Dee said...

Dear Vagabonde, this is a lovely posting--both photographs and words. I especially liked the following words: "how can one not feel contented [in a garden]? Just after a couple of hours in these gardens and any stress, worry, problem or sadness I may have had are all gone and forgotten." That is truly what a garden can do for me also--take away stress and worry and leave me contented.

Those bonsai trees are so lovely. Thank you for sharing this trip to these lovely gardens. Peace.

Friko said...

Dear Vagabonde, I have just caught up with your recent posts. Even if you haven’t been in distant lands you haven’t stopped going on trips and touring.

You have so many lovely places around you that you can stay busy admiring them for many months.

The garden is lovely, I am fascinated by bonsai. I even tried to grow a tree once, from a seedling, but it didn’t really work.

Perhaps I’ll have another go.

I hope you are keeping well.

Magic Love Crow said...

What gorgeous pictures! An amazing day! Beautiful! I love the coffee and cake picture ;o) Very sweet! Take Care ;o)

Vicki Lane said...

What a wonderful garden! I love the picture of the Dainty Bess rose and the bonsai are spectacular! Thank you for taking us along -- I just wish I had a taste of the fig cake!

claude said...

Quel magnifique jardin, Vagabonde !
Les roses sont très belles.
J'ai la main verte pour avoir de belles plantes d'extérieur et d'intérieur à grandes feuilles comme celle de ta photo à côté du premier bonsaï, par contre pour ces derniers absolument pas. Philippe m'en a offert un jour, il n'a pas duré longtemps. Faut dire que nous sommes partis en vacances et que mon jeune fils en avait la garde. Ceci explique peut-être cela.
Merci pour ce beau partage.
Bon week-end !

Mae Travels said...

The roses look beautiful -- I always find amusing the choices of people for whom rose varieties are named. I had no idea that one was named for Julia Child. I enjoyed sharing your contemplative day.

Reader Wil said...

Merci de votre visite et la belle promenade dans ce beau jardin avec lesbelles roses. Vous avez écrit que votre jardin ressemble à. une jungle. Est il si grand? Ma fille en Australie a un jardin de 16 hectares. Il ressembles à une vraie jungle. C' est trop grand. Mais elle l' aime.

Down by the sea said...

That lloks like a fantastic garden to visit. There is so much to see, I'm not surprised you took 250 pictures. As most of the roses have gone over here it's nice to see so many still in flower.
Sarah x

Niall & Antoinette said...

What a wonderful garden - thanks for sharing.

Our weather is sunny and mild: 22C. Nothing's really turning here yet and the vendange is going to be late. Right now we're in competition with the red squirrels for the walnuts.

Anonymous said...

Bonjour chère Vagabonde :o)
Merci de partager cette fin de l'été !!! Les fleurs, la végétation, l'eau, etc... les roses sont sublimes ! J'aime énormément ta publication !!!
MERCI pour ce partage chère Vagabonde !
GROSSES BISES D'ASIE et bonne journée ! :o)

OldLady Of The Hills said...

This is such an incredible place......I can see how ALL of one's troubles and worries can just fade away--The Rose Garden alone is SOOOO Very Healing!! But ALL of it is just Sublime!!! Thanks so much, dear Vagabonde, for sharing all this beauty with us. Your pictures, as always, are PERFECTION!!!

Al said...

What a beautiful garden - it looks quite large and very well-kept.

Nadezda said...

The truly words:Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad.. It's true! I love the rose garden, can look at roses all the day! The bonsai is interesting thing, but it's difficult to care of it in cold time.
Happy next week!

Kittie Howard said...

Thank you so much for this gorgeous post. Your photos are magnificent! I must admit, I lingered for quite a while, just soaking in the beauty and the serenity. I love roses and have planted a few through the years but never quite got to carry through as we moved so much when hub was in the USMC. Hopefully, when we move to North Carolina this spring this will provide more opportunity. Thanks for the tip about the Julia Child rosebush!!! One of my neighbors was president of her Rose Garden Club. She said to put drops of Elmer's white glue on branches when pruning a bush. True?

I've always wanted to try my hand at a bonsai. The idea seems so . . . nice . . . peaceful.

Thanks for my author's page Like. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me along.

Margaret said...

You KNOW how to enjoy a day! I haven't visited a garden lately - think I will do so - but ours I think will be green for a bit longer too. I see a few yellowing leaves but I wonder if it will be very colorful this fall - does rain make for a less colorful autumn? (thanks for the e-mail with the poets info - I will use it this weekend for my challenge. :)

Perpetua said...

What wonderful gardens. no wonder you like to visit them again and again, Vagabonde. Your rainy summer is probably the reason why everything is still so green and lush in late September. Here we're starting to see the autumn colours, though they won't reach their full glory for a while yet.

Kay said...

These are such incredibly beautiful photos! Yellow or white ginger is my favorite scent. It always reminds me of the rain forests here in Hawaii. Then again... I love roses too.

Art is now trying to learn how to do bonsai. He's determined to turn a Meyer lemon tree-ling into a bonsai. We'll see.

Jenn Jilks said...

What a lovely floral trip!
This is the time of year to enjoy them. I was happy to go along with you!
Cheers from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Marja said...

The sculpture, the flowers the waterfall Your beautiful butterfly photo and the little bird So much wealth, so many treasures. I really enjoyed this Arohanui marja

hidden art of homemaking said...

Oh Vagabonde,
Your pictures and garden tour are just what I needed on this rainy Georgia morning..I grow many of those roses in my own garden but these look much healthier and more robust than mine...All of the rain this summer has taken it's toll on my garden so walking through this garden with you is a real treat..Thank you for taking the time to describe everything so well...I enjoyed your post so much..
Love, Mona

ruma said...

Hello, Vagabonde.

 The encounter with your work is my pleasure.
 Thank you for visit.

 The prayer for all peace.
 I wish You all the best.

Have a good weekend. From Japan, ruma ❃

Miss_Yves said...

DE beaux clichés qui mettent en valeur la richesse et l'originalité de la nature

Jeanie said...

There is so much to savor in this post. I especially like the Bonsai collection, but I think my favorite part was bringing your cake and mugs to enjoy in the garden. That' an idea I should incorporate!

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