Sit back and relax a while and take a tour of some gardens in Montgomery County with me. We shall start at Shan and Susan Smith's garden.
Any garden tour you take to Shan and Susan Smith's idyllic garden in the woods would have to start with the ponds. Both are man made, but the one with the waterfall surrounded with massive rocks is a koi pond; which is intensively managed. The koi were wonderful! Can you see them swimming around in the pond in the first picture?
Shan will tell you they are a BIG part of the garden and he loves them and water very much. While we were there (myself, Nancy and Julie), Shan fed the fish. It was amazing and they were quite a bunch! Quite a ravenous bunch! And wonderful to watch amongst the gardens.
The next two pictures are of a special pond Shan and Susan had built. Shan's late father was the Montgomery County Soil Conservation Officer. As such, one of his tasks was to help farmers control erosion and prevent run off. Ponds help control erosion and conserve soil. Shan's dad designed this large and natural pond (pictured below) for Shan and Susan. The pond is named after him (Lake Billy Frank), and is a special pond because he just passed away last year. Tuesday, June 24th would have been Shan's father's 82nd birthday. I know they miss him very much.
The pond fits into the wooded setting and reminds me of a campsite at a far away park lost in the woods. Very serene and calm. The water was quite sparkly and the setting beautiful.
No garden tour post would be complete without a picture of the gardener and some of the visitors. The last picture on this post shows Shan taking some visitors around his garden.
Shan tells me he and his wife estimated they had over 100 visitors to the garden. All visitors were very nice and enjoyed the coolness of the woods, beautiful ponds, and gorgeous fish.
One of my personal favorite parts of Shan and Susan's garden was the replica of a statue you can find in Brussels, Belgium. It is of a bronze boy 'peeing' in the pond. A bit of whimsy that all gardens need! Plus who doesn't love that European feeling?
I also enjoyed talking to both Susan and Shan and want to share an anecdote or two. I am going to try to share at least one per garden. I did visit all gardens and enjoyed them all. There was a wide range of gardens and they were all as varied as the gardeners who tended them.
One thing Susan told me that was a funny story was this:
I had commented on how big and lush her impatiens were on the side of the porch. She said, "Funny story, our one and only neighbor had ordered a truckload of manure to be delivered. The delivery truck driver made a mistake and dumped it on the side of our house in front of the porch instead of at our neighbor's! The impatiens and everything I plant in this spot grows very well!" Yes, I can imagine that was funny! I am sure the neighbor and delivery truck driver were not happy about the situation, but it is still a funny story and one neighbor's lost manure is another's gain of a lush garden.
Another poignant part of their garden aside from the pond which is such a part of Shan's late father, is "Ms. Kitty's Tree". Shan spotted a variegated dogwood at a local nursery. He really wanted it but the nursery owner said he could not sell it because it was promised to his wife. But then he relented and sold Shan the dogwood. The nursery owner's wife came down with cancer and passed away within months of Shan acquiring that tree. Now Shan and Susan call it Ms. Kitty's tree and told the nursery owner. He was touched and honored. Aren't gardens good for a laugh and a memory? Look for more posts on the individual gardens to come....including mine.
in the garden....
Thank you Susan for sending me the pictures and thanks for hosting us on a private tour on Sunday! And thanks for trusting me!