Garden of enchantment

View from inside the garden house.

View from inside the garden house.

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.

— Henry James

I kicked off my summer vacation with a silent retreat — and, a few days later, with a return visit to the gardens and estate of Filoli, site of my desperately-needed Artist’s Date in April.  (I could go solo because it was the last week of school for the kids  … and believe you me, I crammed a lot into that week alone!).

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Filoli is becoming like a religion to me.  This place does something to my soul.  If it seems crazy  to go twice in the space of two months, it really isn’t, because there are new things blooming all the time.

In place of the lilac I adored in April, this time there were hydrangeas.

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The rosebeds were budding, too — clearly we were past the first bloom for many of them, but others were still showing off their color.

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And — amazingly — there were still some pansies in bloom.

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This time, I was captivated by this narrow walkway, between the lawn and the brick marking the boundary of the walled garden.

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I know ivy is a parasite, but isn’t it beautiful?  I’ve always liked it … probably the result of having read so many novels about ivy-clad English estates.

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And somehow, I noticed trees more this time than I did before.  Check out this one, right along the side of the house.  It’s massive.

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Anyhow, it was a truly beautiful day.  I filled the creative well and did some quiet meditation on a bench and found myself wanting to go home and plant more flowers, which I did a few days later.

I also found myself thinking about sharing Filoli with the boys.  I’m not sure taking them both together is a good idea; they feed off each other’s energy, and the paved walkways and nooks and arches would surely make them go into superhero mode.  It is not exactly conducive to the quiet beauty of the place to have two little boys tearing here and there, pretending to be Spiderman and the Green Lantern (the superheroes du jour).

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But maybe if I take them singly?  I’m thinking about it.  Because I love sharing places I love with people I love.  And if this place feeds my imagination, which it does, what will it do for two impressionable young kids?  They’ve never seen a place remotely like this; it’ll be like an enchanted garden to them.

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Of course, if I bring them here separately, it means I’ll have to come here twice more this summer, at least.

And know what?   I’m perfectly fine with that.

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