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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The garden of leafy delights: part 2

And it is an enchanting garden, in the style of those wild, romantic, 18th century, English cottage gardens that inspired the Italians to establish their elaborate, sprawling villa gardens on the Italian Lakes. From the front gate a path meanders up to the porch of the house, a pretty pond on one side that's home to frogs, a fountain and floating waterlilies, and on the other side a shimmery birch forest and beyond that another pond that's home to a handsome white duck called Ferdinand and an ever-expanding school of fish that magically appeared one day (a theory is that birds dropped the fish in on their flight past, but people in these parts always have theories). Another path leads by the side of the house, itself concealed by creeping vines, where there is another small birch forest and everywhere an abundance of greenery. Beyond this a terrace with a big glass table and charming wrought-iron chairs where we occasionally sit together and eat in the sun - generally only when there are guests and not nearly as much as we should. The whole garden is lush and leafy and fragrant, with plenty of places to sit scattered about, a bench here, chairs and tables there, a swinging seat in the corner - all made for sitting back with a glass of something to delight in this gorgeous garden. And of course, we seldom do that either. I remember being a child and playing in my grandparents' gardens, hiding beneath big hollow shrubs I'd turn into cubby houses where I could hold tea parties with my dolls, and I wished then that I'd had a garden like this with its secret spots seemingly created especially for 'hide and seek'. This garden must be heaven for small children. Just as it was to the older garden-lovers last weekend...

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