A hidden garden (or two…)

A few posts back, I used a photo noting the way in, and Jill Weatherholt asked if that was my garden.  That shot was from an English garden; our village hosted an annual Hidden Garden Day on the first Saturday of July.  Some years, like this year, were sopping wet; we heard from a friend that any sun would be appreciated.  But sometimes England suffered from a hose-pipe ban (water rationing), and in 2006, that was nearly put into effect.  We didn’t know it would be our last summer in Yorkshire, so blithely we tromped from open house to open house, admiring gardens small and large, a variety of flora and ideas.  Back gardens (and a few in front) are all what the gardener has in mind.

Much like a writer; so many genres and novels sprout from our multitude of experiences and perspectives.  Only so many plots, but that never got William Shakespeare down!  Down the centuries stories still pour like the ever-raining British skies, or the endless California sun.  Summer was in force yesterday; I wore shorts and a t-shirt on my road trip, running the A/C on my way home.  It might be the middle of October, but try telling that to the Golden State.

But back to hidden gardens…  Floral beauty was the biggest thrill on that warm, un-Yorkshire-like day, and I took many pictures, which now I treasure like gold.  Of course I imagined we would be there for years  but life has a way of changing on a dime.  Instead of sitting at home, watching Wimbledon, I trekked about our small, tucked-away hamlet, with its school, few pubs, post office, and a branch of the surgery (doctor’s office) from the nearby town, following on our map which gardens were on display.  Friends joined us, a large crowd in our relatively tiny village, not far from York.  Those days are idyllic upon reflection; a warm summer’s day, long sunshine permeating well past nine p.m.  On the day, 2 July 2006, I held my husband’s hand when not shooting the landscapes or chatting with pals.  My eldest came along, but she hadn’t yet told me about NaNoWriMo; my goodness, how events sit as place markers   On that day in 2006, I wasn’t even considering noveling.

Or living in America, only another English day, rather stunning for the perfect weather, if not a bit dry.  It was simply one more event in my British life, as if it would always be that way.  But days slip away, all the more reason to capture words and plots.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

So many lives, moments, characters…  Even in cats, and bassets of course.   They were all loitering behind those gates, as if each was a novel, hoping I would brave the adventure.  Lush blooms on winding vines, or plants in pots, all sorts of stories waiting.

I didn’t expect to leave that village as we did, abruptly and premature.  Or that’s how it felt, at the time.  But I came back with one NaNoWriMo in my back pocket, pictures on hard drives, memories as abundant as the rain there, the sun here.  No correct balance, sometimes that’s how it goes.  Sometimes the gems stay hidden for ages, like no one will ever find them.

But sometimes the gate swings wide, all kinds of gifts waiting.  Maybe you’re NaNo’ing this autumn, or just poking about that garden, waiting for the rain.  It’s all part and parcel of the whole, which is constantly changing in gorgeous, unexpected ways.

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