To tell the truth, we weren't sure what to anticipate in the way of flowers at the gardens since we were visiting on the heels of two (or three?) nights of below freezing temps. (Does anyone know what kind of salvia that is above--- I must see if it will grow here??).
It was important for us to know how the cold affected this public place dependent on the show of flowers, so the first grounds keeper we saw we had to ask. "Did you cover all the perennials these cold nights?" The answer was surprisingly, "no."
There was little evidence of damage. Some edges of leaves and blooms were burned by the cold and some coneflowers and zinnias were naturally spent. But for the most part, it is worth noting, the gardens were more like Florida-sized plantings than I expected... perennials billowing four and five feet tall was not what I anticipated.
We laughed at ourselves as we sauntered through the beautiful and peaceful settings with our cameras clicking away like mad. It was so nice to share our mutual interest in gardening, design and color. We were spending rare time together and determined we would take our time noticing all the elements.
Some flowers I didn't recognize like these delicate looking but obviously hardy Glossy Abelia. A perfect blend of softly colored petals and bright green leaves on long woody stems.
But then there was the familiar Mexican Bush Sage planted in more than one setting. I'm not sure what the beauties are towering over it but I definitely think they make a perfect combination. And the stunning grasses blooming everywhere had me mesmerized.
Water features throughout the gardens make for peaceful sounds, refreshing sitting areas ...
...and interesting architecture.
The extra large sizes and heights of the perennials was such a surprise to me. Then again, they do have grounds keepers to tend to every little thing. Wouldn't that be nice in our own gardens?
And this must be that stunning yellow salvia Gail asked me about a few weeks ago. She wondered if I grow this in my Florida garden. I admit I had never seen it for sale nor heard of it down here. Note to self: Looking for this next spring.
Resting from walking the gardens Marmee finds respite under the rounded pergola.
Another surprise for me was that there was an abundance of butterflies... everywhere. I took so many photos of them it was easier to show them in a slideshow.
If you know the identity of any of them (Update: thank you, Frances, for the help in comments) that I got wrong or that I left off... please help. I like to know I just couldn't ID some of them... I rarely can get the sulphurs sorted out. And the little blue fuzzy guy? Anyone?
The days following the gardens were chocked full of girly, fun stuff. We made every minute count with long lunches and trips to family members, driving to Franklin and Leiper's Fork popping in and out of very quaint and fun shops.
There aren't any mountains in this part of Tennessee. But for this Florida girl from the flatlands the very hilly countryside and the abundance of curving roads made me feel like I'd taken a trip to the north.
Deep into the horizon in any direction lay fields of golden stalks. We think it is soy beans. The frosty nights must have tinged their edges to the uniform beautiful golden-brown for they were breathtaking.
Early Saturday started out as one more brisk and chilly morning. I was particularly enthusiastic to join my sister's family on their weekly trip to the local Farmer's Market. She had talked so many times with great fondness about the fresh produce for sale by local vendors. So we bundled up and strolled through the market picking out very fresh and beautiful vegetables and fruits.
We even managed to cook together a couple of times combining our love for good food.
We won't wait too long to spend this kind of time together again. As we grow older it is more and more important to realize the things most valuable in life and cherish them deeply. Relationships are of those precious treasures we realize mustn't be taken for granted. What many of you may not know is that in the past there were many years when Marmee and I let the distance and our child-raising, and just ordinary life get in the way of connecting.
I would like more sisters, that the taking out of one, might not leave such stillness.