One of the things I love to do when traveling
Is visit local gardens.
So on our recent family trip
To Newport and its Jazz Festival
We headed for Bellevue Avenue
And the mansions of the “Gilded Age”.
They are spectacular.
Actually, a little too unbelievable for our taste.
There likely were elaborate gardens
At one point.
But not so much today.
There are however seas of hydrangea
Blue mopheads, green limelights and
Of course, Annabelles.
But I like real gardens
The kind that are a bit messy and unkept
Luckily Elliott discovered Blithewold Mansion and Gardens
Down the road in Bristol, R. I.
Though Blithewold was built during the same era
It has a completely different feel.
I feels like a family lived, played and gardened there.
The estate is currently 33 acres.
It is filled with a cutting garden, vegetable garden
Water garden, bamboo forest, rose garden, greenhouses
And an arboretum.
Generally, I head straight for the flowers
And they were wonderful.
Many of the things I grow
And others I’ve long been curious about.
It did not disappoint.
But the trees are what captivated me.
In particular the Giant Sequoia.
Now remember, I’m on the east coast
I know, I was a bit confused myself.
I don’t remember how the first one came to Blithewold
But Marjorie Randolph Van Wickle Lyon the daughter who grew up here
Took it upon herself
To learn to propagate them.
And propagate she did.
The origianal Sequoia is now 90 feet tall.
There are a dozen more on their estate
All of which are the product of Marjorie’s ingenuity.
It seems she created so many that she gave them
To guests who visited.
I like this lady.
So let’s think about this.
A young woman
Born in 1883
Into an era and a social strata
That shall we say
Didn’t encourage women to do
Yet, she decides to propagate
GIANT SEQUOIA !
Marjorie never had children
Yet she left a legacy that will last generations.
So as three generations of Wynnes
Explored her home
I couldn’t help but think about the legacy
We create each day.
Hoping that we will leave such a lasting legacy.