Maymont

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After visiting Agecroft Hall, my friend and I drove on to Maymont. Like Agecroft Hall, Maymont is an estate that has been turned into an historic house museum. There are wildlife exhibits, a children’s farm, and beautiful formal gardens.

The entrance to the Italian Gardens is marked by a stone arch with the inscription “Via Florum.”

The daffodil display garden:

The entrance to the Japanese Garden:

I love photographing people, but I generally try to avoid having them in photos of landscapes. On this day, however, the gardens were so bustling that it was impossible to avoid including them in the photos. Apart from the usual garden visitors, there were high schoolers posing in their prom outfits and a gathering of “LARPers,” (Live-action role-players) dressed in fanciful costumes and wigs. (Believe me, I was dying to take their photos, but I managed to restrain myself with great difficulty…). Looking back at the photos that include people I captured unintentionally, I love the effect. I think the people, dressed in clothing as colorful as the flowers themselves, add rather than detract from the scene.

Here are two garden poems that capture the idea of people as an integral part of a gardenscape:

Amy Lowell’s “Patterns” begins with this stanza:

I walk down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jeweled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden paths.

And here are the beginning and final stanzas of Adrienne Rich’s poem “Design in Living Colors.” Perhaps she had Amy Lowell’s poem in mind when she wrote this?

Embroidered in a tapestry of green
Among the textures of a threaded garden,
The gesturing lady and her paladin
Walk in a path where shade and sunlight harden
Upon the formal attitudes of trees
By no wind bent, and birds without a tune,
Against the background of a figured frieze
In an eternal summer afternoon.

And the final stanza:

The fleeing hare, the wings that brush the tree,
All images once separate and alone,
Become the creatures of a tapestry
Miraculously stirred and made our own.
We are the denizens of a living wood
Where insight blooms anew on every bough,
And every flower emerges understood
Out of a pattern unperceived till now.

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