Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Little Piece of Heaven on Earth

The cottage garden

It's only 25 miles from my home. I can't believe I didn't know about this before now. I love little discoveries like this one.
Its one of those things that just eludes you but when you find it, another little piece of the puzzle of who you are is made more complete. We all have our "things" that bring us joy, help us feel closer to God, and remind us of who we are. Gardens are one of my "things" and the Ladew Gardens is that kind of place for me. It makes me all squinty eyed to think about it.

The rose garden

The croquet garden

It is a magical and lovely set of gardens that wind in and out of each other with such ease. Imagine Mary Poppins, Alice and Wonderland and Italy and England all rolled into one. (At least that's what I did.)

The topiary gardens were amazing. I have never seen anything like them. What a magical space.

Let me just say, as I look at pictures and think of how I felt as I wandered about, I am filled to the brim.

Oh to have bees!

The yellow garden

My camera, nor my photography skills were able to truly capture the beauty of this place, but I tell you as I walked the grounds, I felt as though I were home. I could lose myself so easily to a place like this.

The koi pond

The iris garden
I wish I could post all the pics I took.

This place truly is a little piece of heaven. Even the house, workshop, greenhouse and garages were charming.

I am a simpleton I guess. This is what I want in life, a place where I can wander about with my heart and my hands in the soil. Tending young plants and taming the older ones. Making everything a bit better for having been there. It dawns on me now that I have exactly that living in an apartment in the city. For I am a gardener every day of my life. Already. Now. My children are those tender young plants striving to grow strong roots, needing proper nourishment and light in order to grow healthy and tall, that they might become something wonderful and glorious. Not only am I a worker in this great endeavour, but I am also a plant in this lovely garden and the Lord is the Master Gardener. You see, I am that older plant that needs taming. It's a much more difficult and tedious job to tame something rather than train it you know. Both jobs take constant vigilance but the older plant at times can grow stubborn, prickly, unwieldy. Sometimes you have to cut it back a little to give it a chance to grow properly again. The Lord does that for me. I am grateful. And I am grateful to recognize the subtle lessons he teaches me everyday, in places like this, in my home, inside of myself. Finally, whether I recognize it or not, I do have my heart and hands in the soil every day. I can choose to look at the work I have as a drudgery or a gift. If you know me at all, you know I like to get my hands dirty and I like to work hard. I think it's time I dig in with more enthusiasm and gratitude. Happy planting!

Yes, that is a rose behind my handsome husband.

Here is the stubborn older plant that has been pruned down a bit. Won't it be stunning when it's grown a bit?!

A younger plant being trained up in the way it should go. Its so vibrant!
(Sidenote: Notice the lovely grasses around the plant. They look nice, but make it trickier to get to the plant. Don't we as parents do this sometimes? Putting obstacles in our way that make it more difficult to fulfill our roles. Time to get out the spade.)


Andrea and Dave said...

I love your analogy between parenting and gardening. Kind of like in the scriptures. Great pictures!

Ingrid said...

All so well said!
I am glad you found this place. You are right, it is a little piece that belongs in your life-puzzle. Hooray!

Karen said...

I want to visit this Heaven on Earth!

Likely said...

this isn't Ladew is it??

If you are craving some taming of wild old plants, look no further than our newly purchased overgrown wilderness of a back and front yard. I am going to take you to Terrain (maybe in the spring? although it is great in every season..) It is a drive, but would be a fun family adventure for both of our families. I think Jon would like it too, David appreciates it. He really appreciates the huge cookies at their little Cafe.