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Had I been mindful of the weatherman I would never have ventured out into a rainy day on the coast this week. But Spirit was very clear: you are going to the Botanical Gardens, today. OK, then! Donning gear I headed out to Ft. Bragg. I parked next to this rippled pond and went into a very empty entrance.
A very nice woman named Marian, most likely not expecting anyone on such a gloomy wet day, emerged from a side office to greet me. When I told her I’d come to do a shoot she offered, “Well, you know, the rhodies aren’t quite here yet. Maybe March or April.” I smiled. “I’m sure there’s something here! I saw lots of things blooming out front! I bet there’s enough out there for a post!” Marian was not looking convinced. “Don’t worry,” I reassured her. “It will stop raining, I’m sure.” I gathered my things and headed out into the increasing drizzle. In retrospect what ensued over the next half hour or so really did resemble one of those marvelous giveaways you hear about on tv where someone has half an hour to put all the groceries they want in the shopping cart, for free!
Picture me, near starving for color after a frozen winterscape, knowing the clouds are going to come crashing down on me and my camera, with an ever so brief window in which to catch all the best the gardens had to offer, beginning of February. No time to find out what anything was. Just time enough to capture, capture, capture the beauty of my surroundings, snap, snap, snap. Yes, that! Ohhh, that! Oh, yes, THAT! Beauty. Beauty. Beauty. How’d I do?
Beginning in front, as I’d suggested (I knew it was a treasure mine!).
My mind is going, “What am I looking at? What am I looking at??” I will rely on you to tell me. (No, there was not time to read the little sign! It’s raining!)
I was almost breathless looking at these magnolia buds, anticipating what the whole tree would look like, oh, say, in a month?
Thankfully, this single flower was gracious and kind enough to open prior to my arrival so we could all have a blessed sneak peek! It’s enough to make you swoon, isn’t it?
I look at these impressionistic pinks and say, “Were they moving? Was I?”
Satisfied I’m off to a good start I pass through an entryway into the back area where the ample gardens are in their glory. Here’s a very brief look at what I first saw.
Mind you, these gardens go waaay back and include a cliff house, a small private cemetery, a vegetable garden, a rose garden, a pine forest, a Mediterranean garden, and trail after beautiful inviting trail. (You can bet I will be documenting poco a poco!)
My winter eyes immediately were drawn to this fanciful chair!
And at that very moment the rain stopped! Oh, thank you, Rain Gods, for showing mercy on a humble gardening blogger anxious to share your garden bounty with her readers! Run!
Not quite sure where I am or where I’m going, and never one to use a map, I turn to the left and see this.
I have two simultaneous thoughts. One is remembering Marian saying, “Well, there are some heathers…” so I think these must be the heathers, never seeing in my life anything beyond those poor representations in supermarkets at the wrong time of year, and the other is my mind saying, “There is a sign! Take a picture of the sign! Someone will care!” So I did it for you, whoever you are.
And that’s probably as much naming as you will get out of me on this journey, my dears. But who cares? We have discovered The Heathers! Look at this!
It is only beginning to dawn on me at this moment what I have stepped into, but in the minutes that followed I found myself awash in mystical beauty.
Stepping back, just a bit, here was the most stunning spectacle I found before me. Darlings, when the time comes, you know, that inevitable moment, to cross to the Other Side, may they just bury me among the heathers and let my soul reside in heather glory forever. Amen.
A path emerged and I wended my way back towards the front.
(The heathers are lovely, lively, deep but I have promises to keep.)
Emerging, more glorious images were there to be seen and caught and shared.
the golden bush…
the precious tiny fuschia…
this bench, oh so inviting in summer sun, I’m sure…
the rhodies, hinting of what will be opening in spring, when I return!
Finding this gorgeous water feature I was just about filled up, as you can imagine.
Next time I will be employing one of those wagons to take home some personal treasures for my garden. Today I am fully enriched with all that I was blessed to find. On a rainy (unlikely) day.
Thank you, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. We look forward to our return!
Love and garden blessings,
Posted on February 7th, 2009 by Kathryn
Filed under: Field Trips