Come, walk in my garden with me. There, just beyond the pool the garden unfolds in multiple heights creating a canopy over the center back yard. From inside the house, looking towards the garden becomes multiple canvases framed by the windows, yet combine as one large, scenic panorama, one that is constant yet forever changing.
To the left of the pool is a Meditation Garden where thoughts are formed, prayers or chants made and a place where quietude is paramount. Thinking of my close friends that meditate or have beliefs founded in quiet solitude and prayer, as well as using incense and chants to pray, prompted me to make this place for them.
Just around the corner turn left on to a paver walkway that leads to the Pergola surrounded in lush tropical plants and is quiet place for that is ideal for leisurely reading and writing. Sit and rest for a moment.
Then, take the path back to where another intersects to the left. The path is bordered on each side with bromeliad’s and ferns and it leads you to the Chickee Hut. Listen and you will hear the water in the little pond. Sit and you become part of the garden. Looking back on the house only allows you to see its roof.
If you wish a little sun, then take stretch out by the pool. Later, we will take another path from the upper patio to the Chickee Hut. On either side of the path, the garden contains colorful Caladium, roses, lilies, Mexican Daisies and roses. A Tangerine tree with pots of orchids hung from its branches sets in the center of the garden. At path’s end turn right and sit at the picnic table. Papaya Trees are planted around the Picnic Area.
Above and beyond the varying heights of the plants towers enormous, old Mango Trees. They are a blended family of seven, exquisite varieties, It is as if the King and Queen and their Royal Court have been the ones to rule over the property and bring shade and comfort to the plants and human because without their expansive limbs, the Florida sun would be intolerable. Each Spring the trees have hundreds of blooms that make hundreds of baby Mangos. As the wind increases baby Mangos fall to the ground leaving others in the tree that were firmly attached. As the weeks pass the Mangos grow and occasionally fall. When working in the garden be alert because at anytime a large, fat Mango can fall from far above you and if it hits a limb or head you will not forget the force for some time!! The Mangos that stay on the trees the longest are the ripest and the tastiest. Those that drop on the ground are edible, but very quickly they turn to mush on the side they have fallen. Even with the large fallout, by the end of the season, 100 or so Mangos have made it into the house and become Jam, Mango Pickles, Catsup, Soup, cake, bars, pies and many other wonderful items. They are luscious and each bite is like a bit of heaven.
The garden, as it was at other homes, is my passion and what makes me calm when I walk through it. In Arizona it was the large cactus garden that beckoned me to stand within it and hear the wind rustle by, look up and watch a bird making a nest in an open scar, or sit within the garden and look up to the incredible blossoms on a saguaro Cactus, or pluck the juicy blossoms from other cactus to make jelly or jam. Then in Illinois it was the large perennial flower beds that brought color to the yard and fresh flowers for the entire summer. Within a short time I had also planted fast growing willow trees at the property line. Once again, as they swayed in the wind you could hear sounds from their branches and it seemed as though I was under their protective wing. The Mangos in Florida are even more mysterious and protective. It is their age and their size that makes them supreme over all the other tropical plants. They allow me to sit under their boughs and enjoy a cool breeze and protect me from the harsh sun. Often, people wonder why I work so much in the garden. It is my place and it is a place I must care for because I get far more beck than the work that I put into it.