Sunday
May182014

Jasmine Hill Gardens

Some friends and I recently spent a morning strolling through Jasmine Hill Gardens near Montgomery, Alabama. The setting was beautiful and serene, and the weather was perfect. Jasmine Hills is known as "Alabama's Little Corner of Greece" and features over 20 acres of botanical beauty and classical sculpture. It was conceived in 1928 by Benjamin and Mary Fitzpatrick, who made their home in an 1830-era cottage within the Gardens. The Fitzpatricks enjoyed Greek culture and made over twenty trips to Greece to study and purchase art objects for the Gardens.

Jasmine Hill Gardens has nooks and crannies and long paths to explore, abundant foliage, magnificent trees and patina that only age can bring. Here is a sampling of the lovely scenes we encountered:This cottage was home to the Fitzpatricks. They spent many years developing the gardens.

The bug in the top photo is an Eyed Click Beetle. The huge spots on its head, resembling eyes, are supposed to help warn off predators.

I hope you enjoyed the tour. Have a great week! 

Monday
May122014

Glittering Trees and Other Joys

When I came outside the other day, long sun rays were slanting across the garden, and Japanese maples, dogwoods and other trees were glittering in the light. Burgundy, rose, orange, lime green and gold sparkles shot through the leaves and shone around their edges. My camera could not truly portray the beauty of the light coming through the trees.As I watched, nearly a dozen different types of birds were calling and playing about the trees, and a fresh breeze brought aromas of damp earth, fresh pine straw and some delicious flower. Was it jasmine or rose or dianthus?

I breathed in and absorbed the moment, and then I had a thought. I was the only person in the whole wide world who was experiencing this particular scene. From my perspective, at that time, looking across my front garden. Oh, there were many special events going on around the earth, and lots of them were far more spectacular and significant to those who were experiencing them. But this particular moment in time and place was mine alone, a gift just for me.

Once again I was reminded that to experience life at its fullest one must take it in little bits, savoring the small joys that each day offers, whether it be the beauty of a plant or the smile of a child, the satisfaction of a job well done or the lift of the heart that doing a kind deed brings. 

Here are more recent scenes around the garden that made me smile:In the top photo, day lily foliage grows in front of a birdhouse. The perspective is deceiving. Between the rose and the day lilies there is a stairway that goes down to the arbor garden. The rose is Coral Drift. The hanging basket on the lower right contains Calibrachoa 'Dreamsicle'.

Clockwise from above top: 'Whitewater' weeping redbud foliage is spectacular as it matures. The leaves start out golden green, then gradually acquire more variegation; Persian Shield; Rue; Variegated Solomon's Seal; Dusty Miller.

Clockwise from top left:Rosa rugosa 'Alba'; Unknown passalong iris; Another passalong iris - all of my irises came from friends; Spirea 'Anthony Waterer'; Flowers above potato foliage; Romantica rose 'Orchid Romance'.True rosarians often turn their noses up at Knock Outs. Not me! (But then, I don't claim to be a rosarian!) Knock Outs are fantastic, easy-care landscape roses, and who could not love the 'Pink' Knock Out roses below?

Last week I put together a small succulent garden in a hypertufa container:

Finally, here is a dramatic look into the woodland garden as late afternoon light comes pouring through:

May your week be filled with glittering trees and other joys!    Deb