It’s a regular ritual – I strap on my walking shoes, set out to “get my exercise”, then begin scanning my route with hawk-like observation to discover that plant that I’ve never seen before or spot the hidden garden of a yet unknown gardening soulmate. Sometimes I return simply sweaty and ruefully satisfied the fresh air and accomplishing my 12,000 Garmin steps are good for my heart. But sometimes I uncover a gem along the way, as I did today, and my heart always benefits from viewing the beauty of nature and the passion of gardeners around me.
While in my hometown of Macon, Georgia for a high school reunion, I took off this morning for a long walk in an area that I’d never walked before. I looked up to see the entryway to a home that hinted at being a botanical delight. Mr. Willingham, the homeowner, just happened to be adding a few new plants when I walked by.
After a few minutes chatting about the unique tropical plants at his entryway, he asked if I would like to see the rest of the garden.
What followed was a beautiful wooded winding walk through 35 years of gardening love around the home of Mr & Mrs Willingham . Even in drought-stressed, mid-autumn condition, this art-accented garden showed pops of bright color like Turks Cap and Butterfly Weed Asclepsias .
Along a sloping bank was a harvest of lantana for a hord of butterflies.
A hidden treasure of a garden, a delightful conversation with a fellow garden geek newly met, and once again confirmation that there are so many beautiful places in the world around me yet to be discovered.
So I’ll keep on walking.