Mrs. Hall once scattered Daffodil bulbs in an open pasture above their house. To this day, that field comes alive in the early spring with hundreds of yellow blooms--the first harbinger of nicer days to come. It's always welcome; Preston County is at a high elevation where winter seems to linger much longer than it should..but you see a Daffodil and you have hope.
Here's the reverse view of that garden wall you see her tending above. I'm a big fan of Phlox, so banks of it have developed from her plantings over the years. It certainly brightens what could be a fairly severe old wall..and it can be seen from the street as you pass.
When we bought this old house in 2004, it was pretty much green shrubbery and trees around the property. Now, it has different shades of color most every season of the year. Some pansies keep on going almost year-round if the climate's right. Apparently, it's right at this location.
Every garden needs a path. This one was no different. And if you have a path, you need a bench as a destination.
Along the garden path are rose bushes, azalea, rhododendron, hosta, plain and variegated, blueberries and honeysuckle. We also discovered a plant which I nearly mistook for a weed, hiding in a corner behind a pine tree. Before I pulled it out, it bloomed (probably in panicked self defense) with a trumpet-shaped yellow blossom that is loved by any and all Humming Birds. It's still there and gets bigger every year.
The old house was built of West Virginia limestone in 1929. There are still remnant stones from the construction period in the ground around the foundation. Flowers, ferns and moss love their protection and I wouldn't think of removing them (below).
More Phlox along the garden wall (left). It grows so profusely that if you squint your eyes, it is dazzling.
Two more of Mary Alice's favorites:
Columbine. Bleeding Heart.
I know this column is basically about travel, but it must always be understood that a good trip, like a good story, needs a beginning and a middle and an end. There's no fun in going if you can't look forward to your return. Mary Alice kept the fires burning for many years while my job sent me trotting around the globe. The home she made was a joy to come back to, and the flowers she raised iced the cake. But it wasn't just for me--she considered a beautiful garden a greeting to friends or passersby. "Hello, enjoy the day."
This year, the garden continues and seems to be bigger, more beautiful and more promising then ever before. If that's a message, I'm listening.
See you down the road.