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Monday, June 23, 2008

Our Garden (or Couples' Therapy)

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I've been working on two pieces for the past few weeks: one a large abstract, which I will post a peek of later, and one an illustration-type watercolor, about far-away places. Neither is finished, however, and I wanted to enter something for the Mixed Media Monday challenge "Places." So here are two pictures of one of my favorite places: our garden. The main reason I love our garden is that it was inspired by the gardens of the grandmothers of Mr. Alberta and me and created entirely by the two of us. We live on twelve acres in the middle of a forest, the most beautiful piece of land we could find on which to build our dream house eleven years ago. If the house was our dream, the garden was even more so. Gardening is the one thing that the very left-brained Mr. Alberta and I have in common. (He's an accountant; I'm an artist. He keeps lists in his head; I can't remember what I'm supposed to do 10 minutes from now. I'm a crybaby; he's stoic. He's an introvert; I'm an ...well, YOU know!) but we both love old-fashioned gardens, thanks to our very southern grandmothers, who grew figs and roses and wisteria and most important of all: tomatoes! The first thing I ever planted was in my grandmother's yard: a watermelon directly under my swing which hung from a branch of a crepe myrtle tree. To tell you the truth, I think I just spit some seeds into the dust there, but Mumu tended them carefully and transplanted the seedlings into her flowerbed. Weeks later my whole family celebrated by eating the one watermelon I produced, which turned out to be one of the rare yellow ones. Well, I was hooked from then on. Mr. Alberta shared a similar childhood experience in his granny's yard, and, since then, I think we have both simply tried to recreate that childhood magic by planting every single thing we could remember our grandmothers growing. I planted roses and hostas and hydrangeas; he planted strawberries and camellias and magnolias. Each year, in the fall, we take a day off from work to garden together. We have iris from his great-grandparents' homeplace and muscadines like the ones on Mumu's arbor. I discovered, at some point during the last 25 years, that, surprisingly, unlike me, Mr. Alberta has TWO well-developed sides of his brain. In addition to his quantitative and organizational skills, he also has a lovely talent for landscape design. After trips we've taken, he's created areas in our yard in different garden styles. We have a secret little Charleston battery bench surrounded by camellias and crepe myrtles and a woodland hellebore garden complete with stone faun and rhododendrons. There are boxwood hedges and a stone wall that echo the ones we saw when we visited the Cotswolds for our 20th anniversary. I think our little heaven overlooking a small pond surrounded by oaks and willows and honeysuckle is the most beautiful place on earth. It's our sanctuary, a place so secluded I can garden in my nightgown, if I want to, and Mr. Alberta can escape the deadlines and pressures of the IRS. Our garden is just about the only common "ground" (pardon the pun) we share, and I think it's probably the biggest reason we'll be celebrating our 25th anniversary next month. We designed it together from sweet memories of sunrises on our grandmothers' sleeping porches and lightening bug twilights in their backyards, from Nehi Grape Colas iced in their birdbaths and Easter Eggs hidden among the buttercups, from surprise lilies that pop up like magic overnight and autumn Saturday morning pecan-picking-up contests. We're an unbeatable combination: he grows the tomatoes, and I won't give him my recipe for spaghetti sauce. He will never leave me!

14 comments:

Stempelchaotin said...

Wow this is a wonderful place.
Great.

KardKrazy said...

I wouldn't mind spending a little time here...it looks like a beautiful and restful place.
(Although I know it takes a lot of hard work to make a restful place!)

vintage wil said...

beautiful place!!!

Heather said...

What a beautiful garden! It really is a work of art. And I totally relate on the husband thing--- mine is an accountant as well! There must be something that draws the math guys and artsy girs together....
Nice to meet you!~
Heather

Fun Food Eater said...

lovely pic...beautiful!!

Cowgirl Mary Ann said...

Once again, I'm reading your blog and crying.

Mam said...

Great post. Among your many talents, not a shabby writer either! The garden is wonderful. It's so nice to have you doing an art challenge with us. I loved your "cat". I remember it when it was just a journal page. :) I hope you will continue to do some of the challenges. I'm having a lot of fun with them and meeting lots of great people.
Nancy
http://www.neatcs.wordpress.com

Sharon said...

You have such a way with words. I enjoyed reading about your garden and it made me wonder what one thing I might have in common with my dear husband. It also made me want to visit your gardens.

Zuzu's Blog said...

beautiful captures .. looks like a tranquil place to be!

Janet said...

What a beautiful garden you have. I enjoyed the stories about your first plantings. I planted pumpkin seeds in my dad's "perfect" garden....he was NOT amused!

pattie said...

Oh to be nestled there would be a slice of heaven...beautiful
peaceful...piece of heaven..Your and the Mr. are very lucky indeed!! To have tomatoes and sauce!! LOL

Jean said...

Oh, dear, we have soooo much more in common that we originally thought!! Your description of your sweet memories of the garden are one of the reasons my hubbie and I are together as well....thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts and photos...I also had a lovely black kitty for 18 years!!!

Can't wait to see what you've been working on!!

Flassie's Fil'a said...

That melon planting story
cracked me up! LOL!

I planted popcorn when I was a kid, right smack in the middle of a path to the garden and one of my brothers stepped on it. LOL! I still love popcorn to this day though. Plain Air Popped Corn! LOL!

You write beautifully and your garden is very lovely!

Thanks for stopping by and I'll keep praying.

God Bless You and Yours and
Your Marriage!!!

Charlie said...

Beautiful garden. I love to garden too, but I live in San Antonio where it's hot as blazes. We are about to go into water restrictions. Oh well. I still try.