Weymouth Center: Walking the Gardens

[A sampling of flowers from the garden off one of several patios surrounding the Boyd House]
Not all those who wander are lost. It’s a favorite bumper sticker around the Pacific Northwest, quoting Jerry Garcia. It’s also an applicable mantra for walking the gardens here at Weymouth Center. There is an art to wandering and the balance between manicured pathways and virgin longleaf pine forest across these 22 acres are the perfect invitation to do just that. Between projects (critiquing manuscripts, a fellowship application, submitting to Passages North), I walk the grounds in a method quite the opposite of my Alaska trekking. Here, there is no need to warn the bears, keep an eye out for moose, or thwack through the willow thickets. There is only the need to explore with a child’s mind, Weymouth my Secret Garden, these paths a metaphor for the many directions of the writing life.
[Bird bath in The Witches Garden]
In The Witches Garden, narrow gravel pathways meander through a damp grove of exotic shrubs. I recognize Bitterwort and Camellia. The long, slender arms of ferns grab at my legs as I move silently through the shade. Each step rustles up a few songbirds and I count at least 40 of them without effort. The pathways all lead to the same place, a bird bath beyond an archway of glossy, deep green leaves.
[Entrance to The Poets Garden]
Nearby, The Poets Garden features a mounted poem by Sam Ragan and a winding stone pathway leading to a vine-drenched gazebo. Needlepoint Holly, Fetterbush, Weymouth Azalea, Flowering Dogwood, and Purple Beautyberry line the spacious path. They’re past their peak of flowering but still, I can imagine this space in a riot of colors; a little alcove for the poet’s muse.
[Early sunset on a cloudy day at the edge of Weymouth Woods]
Nearing sunset, I take another break (this time from war story revisions) and wander through The Rose Garden and it’s here, finally, where the art of wandering reels me into something larger than myself. I’ve missed the peak, but the rose’s names incite my imagination. A few blooms still hang on with thousands more petals along the path. It feels as though I am swimming in perfume. I practically leap from bush to bush, intoxicated by the rich, sugary smells.
[Square Dancer Rose (top) and April Moon Rose (bottom)]
There’s the Burgundy Iceberg Rose, the Antique Rose, and The Fairy Rose. There’s Earth Song, Poet Rose, Princess Verona, and Jude the Obscure. There’s the Square Dancer, the Folk Singer, the Double Knockout, and Belinda’s Dream. More still—Winter Sunset, Aunt Honey, Carefree Marvel, April Moon, and the Everest Double Fragrance.
I fill with scents and images: women dancing, sunrise in a cacophony of colors, hardy flowers in hard to reach places, fragile beauties along fresh spring waters. I see weddings and funerals, first dates and farewells, the images blending like watercolors across my mind and suddenly, there is Emily Dickinson knocking around in my brain: Inebriate of air am I, / A debauchee of dew, / Reeling, through endless summer days, / From inns of molten blue…

[Folk Singer Rose]

  • Rocky Cole

    Wonderful words and photographs. What a beautiful place to recharge after hard hours of writing. Thank you for sharing this slice of the writer's life.

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