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June 2012

Secret Gardens


Can you imagine where I might be- facing such beauty?



Looks like England you say?



Let's peek through the fence.



A precious jewel of a garden-



a charming secret place. 


Oh! The things which happened in that garden! If you have never had a garden you cannot understand, and if you have had a garden you will know that it would take a whole book to describe all that came to pass there.

 Frances Hodgson Burnett~ The Secret Garden








What are the real stories here?


From my car, parked at an Albany grocery store, (right, I was not in England) a friendly pink flush of roses beckoned me, and camera, across the street to a Bank parking lot. I peered through rose canes at the top of the wall and found such delight. A week later I told Carolyn Sanders what fun I had, during my secret photo shoot. After all, it was her garden I was capturing. No, I wouldn't shoot a garden without permission, and thankfully received it after the fact.

Carolyn and I were at the The Celebration of Old Roses. How many times I've mentioned the Celebration lately, both here and on FB. It is so much more than the actual day. Loving roses just happens to bring magic with it- people, places, stories, history . . . secret gardens.

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” 
― Frances Hodgson Burnett


And because I have a garden, one spring day, 10 years ago or so, I photographed Laura Reed there- she had just starred as Mary in a production of The Secret Garden. The play was presented at the Meher School, across the street from our home. 



I had the fun of costuming her for the production. Laura, a brilliant performer, has now graduated from college and is persuing all things theatrical.


Thank you Laura Reed and Carolyn Sanders !




Aquilegia (Columbine)


In the garden this morning I noted that it's time to cut back the aquilegias. They were so gorgeous this year! Yes, I think they deserve a round of applause.



Adept in their bows.











Joyous in performance.










Sometimes I wish that applause would come just a bit later, when it is so beautifully hushed that I feel like holding my breath in silence of the end.

Ukranian Pianist~ Emanuel AX



Celebration Rose Bouquet- details (story board)



With the Celebration of Old Roses coming up, I wondered what state Miriam Wilkins' garden was in. Even after sharing itself with rose seekers following Miriam's death in 2009, and a recent severe pruning, I thought there might be the chance of a magical come-back. After all, roses in 4 digits had passed through Miriam's hands into her garden.


M wilkinson garden

In recent years Miriam's garden had become an almost impenetrable jungle of rampant growth. Miriam enjoyed the blooming rooftops of her garden from her second story dining room window. From the ground, blooms were a challenge to even find. Kristina Osborne and I decided to go over and have a look.



What a revelation we found! Until recently, the foreground in this shot was buried by the growth shown in the previous picture (taken several years ago).



This and many other lovely roses now had plenty of sun and space.



The neighboring property that Miriam planted had a number of changes, but roses were thriving.



The first close-up is The Musk Rose and the last is Quatre Saisons. In between, sorry I don't know their names.



This is Red Grootendorst with Geranium Maderense. Yes, Miriam's incredible collection of companion plants were also unveiled by the pruning. (I have another post planned for them.)

Needless to say Kristina and I were thrilled and we planned to come back the next week with Joanie Helgeson to harvest for the Celebration. And I made plans to gather blooms for a large bouquet to display in Miriam's rose patterned tureen. Miriam's daughter Lynn gave it for use at the Celebration, if we "filled it with roses." I was especially excited that this year all the roses would come from Miriam's garden.


A Week Later


This (and more) is the harvest Kristina, Joanie and I managed to cut on Friday, before the Sunday Celebration day. Believe it or not, all of this was needed for the bouquet.

I usually like to make bouquets the morning of the event, so I was nervous about how fresh the bouquet would be almost 3 days later. Many of the roses were rambling or climbing singles picked in bud, in hopes that they'd open by the Celebration.

To clear the living room, I thought I'd better get busy.


The Bouquet


In this close-up, you can see the just-opened singles.



Miriam's tureen detail.



At the Celebration. 


The Day After


The heavy weight and broad width of the tureen required a liner. It's much easier to arrange these hefty stems in a container with a smaller neck. A day later, everything still looks o.k.- I was surprized and grabbed my camera. I only wish I had had more time before the Celebration to capture the many wonders that made it through the door.




Thank you sweet roses,



and thank you Miriam!