Where did we go today? Hmmm....I wonder.
This is what we listened to as we left the big smoke to go to the wide blue yonder (because here in blogland we don't really know each other, do we? Is Eleanor really my name?).
Of course, we were running a little bit late. I wonder why we were running late? Could it be that one of us couldn't decide what to wear, and therefore changed outfits for a good 30 minutes until she finally put on what she was wearing at the beginning? Could it be that one of us was...well...maybe a tad over-excited and anxious about making a good first impression on whoever we might meet there?
Here we are in the car:
I wore my retro cherry dress with red sandals, and I even applied a little lipstick. Miss Commentbox couldn't believe that I even owned lipstick. She said "I'm going to tell Mary that you must really like her because you put on lipstick for her." She didn't have to do that because I commenced my gushing the minute I saw Mary, and continued for the rest of the morning. I was a big mess of soppy blog-love. But Mary was cool with that.
Mary and her family welcomed us into their beautiful mountain home, and I tried really really hard not to stare and touch things. For example, I stopped myself from staring at Mary's computer and whispering "So THIS is where the magical garden photos are sent off around the world," and I didn't stare at her special striped chair (which Margot is known to sneak onto occasionally) and say "Oh...look...it's the famous chair....I love that chair....can I sit in that chair?" Nope. I did not do these things. I smiled casually and flipped my hair a bit and didn't even try to hug or kiss anyone. Not one person. Ok, maybe I did say "Am I dreaming? Quick Miss Commentbox, pinch me...", but that's not so bad, is it?
We then hopped into Mary's car and she drove us past Cherrydell. Cherrydell's owner happened to be working there that morning, so we were able to ask his permission to have a look around. Miss Commentbox and I followed Mary as she walked down the garden paths. I'm really annoyed with myself that I didn't photograph that, but you know.....I was walking in a trance...and the trance continued for the rest of the morning. It was very very quiet, with the occasional earthy movement from the owner as he dug and weeded, and a little bird-song. Mary, who is tall and graceful with a deep and melodious voice (like a cello, only better!), was chanting in front of us "So I usually walk this way first, then I like to stop here, then I turn in here....I usually like to go in the same direction...oh look, look up, over there....look at that colour..." and there we were, the two of us following Mary, hypnotised...and one of us might have been close to tears. The exuberance of spring has, as you probably know from Mary's beautiful, poetic descriptions in the blog, given way to a pondering summer green. Mary pointed at now-empty garden beds and chanted "Here there were tulips, the daffs simply filled this area, the colours were crazy, and there were baby tulips here, and those were the blossoming trees," and as she pointed with her hand, she painted in the colours for us and I sighed and Miss Commentbox whispered to me "This is amazing" and then we heard a movement along another path and we looked up to see the owner walking by and gazing at us. He was wearing shorts and his knees were caked in moist, wet mud, and I thought "Oh, I do believe he has been digging for jewels...I really wish I could introduce him to the mother in my little "Jewel Thief" story," which is of course ridiculous, but that's what happens at the garden's end, where everything is both familiar and foreign, filled with alternating light and shade and light and shade.
We tumbled back into Mary's car, and I think we talked about something, or maybe not, I don't know, I was in shock from all of the beauty we had just seen. But Mary knew what I needed, coffee, strong mountain coffee drunk at a little table in the fresh air. Hey guys...Mary drinks double shot latte....I know you all will need to know that if you ever get together with her....these details are important. The waiter was a young bleached-hair, pierced-lip guy, and Mary greeted him warmly by name and enquired about his exams. Then, we got down to business, yep, that's right, we gossipped shamelessly about each and every one of you. We named you one by one and listed all of the reasons we adore each and every one of you, and then we carefully skirted around the issue of blackbird's real name...does she have one? Is she officially blackbird on her birth certificate? Does her mother call her "Birdy"? Maybe her best friends call her "B"? I know, I'm telling you....so much to talk about, so little time! Next stop...Trisha's garden.
How can I best describe Trish's garden? Magical realism. But I recommend you reread Mary's words in the very first post about Trisha's garden, because Mary has a way with words (as well as photographs) and I do think she truly captured the very first impression which the garden makes on a visitor.
This garden is very different from Cherrydell. While Cherrydell has a feeling of expansive space, Rose Briar is a series of small intimate spaces which are interlinked by curving paths and spilling steps. Following Mary through this garden is akin to pushing yourself on a swing in a children's playground, there's a sloping down, and then a pause, and then a climbing up, and a circular wander, followed by a pause, and one more, and then a delightful wooshing down, and then a flat wander. The sun seems to have been created with the sole purpose of reaching every single plant in this magical garden, and it felt so good on my face and neck. When I reached a small flat carpet of grass I took my sandals off and the lawn was a soft patch of pure velvet under my toes.
Trisha welcomed us with great joy and many stories. Her long grey plait swung as she spoke, and her crisp blue eyes took my breath away, and her art made me wonder if this was, perhaps, after all, really and truly a dream. I felt Miss Commentbox, who was standing beside me the entire time, grow suddenly very very still as she watched and listened to this new world we had walked into. Then, as if on cue, five (or maybe six? seven?) dachshunds of varying sizes came tumbling out of a dark room whose door Mary had opened. They raced past the studio with a clickety-clack cluttering and then tumbled down the garden steps, the last of them being a wise old soul, with a face greyed with age and a slow arthritic walk, who took a terrible tumble down those same stairs as we three watched helplessly. But he picked himself up, seemed to shrug and nod in our general direction, and followed the crowd down down down to where Trisha was now holding court with some new garden visitors.
Miss Commentbox and I would like to thank both Trisha and "Mr. Cherrydell" for welcoming us into these two gardens with such generosity and warmth. We'd also like to thank Mary and her wonderful husband and beautiful children for welcoming us to their beautiful Mountain home.It was the best day.