Honeycomb Natural Bridge and Ghost Creek Falls

Imagine a great chasm in the yard, not far from the front door, as though a long-ago earthquake had split the earth. Imagine the land full of sinkholes, fissures, limestone cliffs and underground streams, and all this the fantastic backdrop to a 25-foot-long natural bridge and a waterfall.

What would one do with such a setting?

James and Carol Meekins, in Marshall County near Grant, Alabama, have taken their special property and created spectacular rock gardens, as well as wandering paths through the woods, edged with rhododendrons, azaleas and other woodland plants. The Honeycomb Natural Bridge and Ghost Creek Falls are on the Meekins' private property, but the couple graciously allow the public to visit. Ghost Creek flows down the mountainside to the right of the bridge. It gets its name from the way it disappears and reappears as it runs down the hill. Eventually it spills beneath the bridge and then vanishes into the earth.

Recently I was in North Alabama and stopped by with my camera. I wished I had been younger and had surer footing, for I would have explored further. Nevertheless, I managed a few good photos even from safe, easily accessible perches.

I will never complain about my rocky soil again!



Marvelous May

May is saturated with colorful flowers and foliage, with fragrant jasmine and roses and newly mown grass, and with all sorts of bird song. Cheeps come almost incessantly from every bird house. I had a conversation yesterday with a tiny nuthatch who poked his head out and studied the world for a few moments. 

"Why, hello. You are cute," I said.

The little guy looked at me and asked where his mama was, as he was very hungry. Then he pulled back inside his abode, and a chorus of complaints from his brothers and sisters greeted him. It is crowded in there. It won't be long before they fledge.

May is a marvelous month, and sometimes I am overwhelmed by its beauty. Join me for a quick look at the garden. Most of these images were taken in late afternoon, when the land was gilded with golden light:

American smokebush, Cotinus obovatus

Spiraea japonica 'Gold Mound'

Clockwise from top left: Hybrid rose 'Orchid Romance'; Rosa Mutabilis, also called Butterfly Rose; Spiraea japonica 'Anthony Waterer'; Purple Salvia; Magnolia grandiflora, or Southern Magnolia; Rosa 'Zephirine Drouhin', an old Bourbon rose that tolerates some shade; Penelope Rose; Rhododendron; Garden Phlox; Hibiscus.

An assortment of greens in the May garden:Clockwise from top left: Bird's Nest fern, a tropical that spends frost-free months in the woodland garden; leaves of the Chinese Pistache tree; Fatsia japonica 'Spider Web'; Burford Holly with berries that will turn bright red later in the year; Zantedeschia; Variegated Weigela.

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