Today I walked in my garden as I anticipate your visit this week. Looking around, I tried to see what you might see; I tried to feel what you might feel when viewing my garden. As friends, I know you will like my garden, because I know you like me. I know you will love my garden, because I know you love me. Gardening friends are like no other friends in the world.
Over the years, we have shared a love for gardening and talked about gardens. I’ve seen your garden on three occasions; your garden has been inspiration in my prose, as will be seen when your garden is featured in Country Gardens magazine next year. But I think it’s prudent to manage your expectations. My garden is nowhere as beautiful as your garden. My garden does not have the style and grace your garden exhibits.
Oh, to do dahlia’s the way you do. You have a gift, Vivien. As our friend, the one who introduced us, Suzanne Edney says, “Vivien is the best gardener I know.” This goes for me, too. You are the best gardener I know. I have learned more from you in three visits than a month in my garden.
When you visit, you will not find beautiful mountain vistas, or drifts of sequential perennials, blooming continuously when a frost is asleep. There is no pond to attract wildlife, or a field of corn to feed the wildlife. You will notice a absence of rhythm, a misstep in color coordination, and the lack of appropriate scale in areas that is the true secret of gardening success; the same secrets that are evident in your garden with the touch of your hand. A touch that appears seamless. A touch I hope will rub off on me one day.
I remember my first visit. Traveling with my friend, Beth Jimenez, with Lasting Impressions, I started taking photos the moment we arrived. Starting at one end; it was my intention to take a few photos along your long, circular drive. What I found I was doing was that I was taking a photo, a step, another photo, another step and so on until I completed the length of the driveway, some 300 feet later….and nearly as many photos. I was over-the-moon. Awestruck. And I still am.
So now we have a marvelous day planned, you, Beth, Suzanne and I visiting gardens and nurseries in the Raleigh area. It will all begin here, in my garden that I call Helen’s Haven.
Of course the purpose of your visit is to allow me to share with you my passion for garden art, and thus, viewing my garden’s art is the main perspective. But I know you will be seeing more.
I made a list of my favorite pieces to be sure you see while you’re here. There are 43 on my list. I’m actually blushing now. It’s good you can’t see that. How did I ever get 43 pieces of art? And there’s actually more than that; these 43 are just the ones I don’t want you to miss.
As I talk with you about art, I want you to realize that your garden needs nothing. There is one place we have talked about that might benefit from one fantastic piece. I hope I’m able to share some artists with you that you may enjoy, but by no means do I want you to think that how I have my art displayed is something I think you need in your garden. I have a sculpture’s garden. Your sculpture is in the form of castors, trees, dahlias, and grasses.
When you are touring my garden, you will see some areas where you were the inspiration. Beginning in the front, at the top of the driveway, I have a collection of terra-cotta pots filled with plants. The only reason I have this sweet display is to mimic a similar vignette you have in the back of your garden, at the end of your drive. Each day when I pass this display, I can think of fun times visiting your garden…and the laughs we–you, me, and Beth–shared. I’m already looking forward to our visit next fall. If we are lucky enough to stay frost-free until your arrival, you can also see the dahlias blooming that you shared with me from that alcove of beauty.
We are wild women. Wild about gardening, that is. Wild about plants. Wild about enjoying the great outdoors. This photo of you and Beth says it all. I’ve never laughed so hard. Rough riding on your gator is a joy not to be missed, and one I will look back on as a time I was able to operate in the hands of gardener I can trust.
Travel safe, my friend. I eagerly anticipate your visit. Helen
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