Garden Designers Roundtable: Restoration & Renovation: The Tale of an Unfolding Project

How about a true tale of garden discovery and restoration and renovation to contribute to this day of Garden Designers Round-table postings.   This story is still unfolding.

It started one day when a Yoga teacher friend called a Garden Designer friend; come with me and see a labyrinth that a mutual Artist friend made at a museum.  It might need some work – “I’d like to start using it for my students”.

the labryinth

A twist in the conversation… “do you have an hour you can spare?”…”supposedly, the woman who started this place used to have a meditation garden”…There was a statue of a goddess in it…Guan Yin… no one knows where it was or is now, but we have a picture….lets go for a hike and see if we can find something….

lilacs in the woods

Vistas discovered, garden plants (lilacs, daylilies, clematis, irises, peonies, and other remnants), oddly in the middle of the woods.  And then there are the byzantine columns buried deep in the overgrown shrubbery.

byzantine column ruins

Who is this woman and why did she do all of this?  What are the links that connect?  Transcendentalism, Shakers, Native Americans, Early Yogi’s in America, The Eye of Isis, Black Magic and White Magic, Occultism, Rosicrucians, a garden, a healing place, and a Boston Brahman woman in the early 20th century.

And then there is the modern day research…Love tunnels and affairs, flowers named for mistresses, witches in the garden, a curse, deception and lies, and the serendipitous and purposeful unfolding of clues to the story that seems orchestrated by an incommunicable source.

Where is this going and how is the story going to end?  I can’t wait to find out, each day is a new adventure….

I have been looking forward to this post for a while… 😉

The search for the goddess continues. Sometimes life is stranger than fiction.  And all in the name of garden restoration….does this sound like a trailer for a movie or a best selling novel?….well, actually, maybe it might be….

Other posts from the Roundtable can be read through the links below.

Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA

Carolyn Gail Choi : Sweet Home and Garden Chicago : Chicago, IL

Genevieve Schmidt : North Coast Gardening : Arcata, CA

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. Robert Webber on September 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I’m hooked and following this story for sure.
    Fabulous post.
    Beautifully written.
    Best Wishes

  2. Debbie on September 21, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Looking forward to reading about what happens next…a journey through a garden is always full of unexpected pleasures and treasures.

  3. Susan aka Miss R on September 21, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I remember your first post about this project. I’m waiting for more mystery and Miss Marple!

  4. Ivette on September 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    This is more than a post – it is the beginning of a NOVEL! Lovely, lovely, enchanting – thank you for this!

  5. jocelyn/the art garden on September 21, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    What a wonderful adventure you are embarking on—thanks for let us tag along!

  6. louise on September 21, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Rochelle, the adventures of a garden restorer. The research is almost more engaging than the actual hands on rebuilding. Reinterpreting after the research is the best! You must keep us informed as the project advances. The 19th c. occult aspect is particularly intriguing- but look for clues in the garden spaces. I went to an amazing garden in Portugal which illustrated mystical traditions thru its spatial design.

    Keep us posted!


  7. Genevieve on September 21, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    What an exciting post! I feel like I was right along with you for your discoveries…. I’m with Ivette… I’m eager for the rest of this story!

  8. Pam/Digging on September 22, 2010 at 9:11 am

    What a creative approach to the topic, Rochelle. It does sound like the teaser for a mystery novel.

  9. Scott Hokunson on September 23, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Such mystery and intrigue, this is the stuff of legend! Please keep us posted as to the progress, and let us know when it comes out on DVD! 😉

    Great post!

  10. rebecca sweet on September 24, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Wow – what a great approach to this topic! I can most definitely see this as an artsy flick with subtitles….I’d be one of the first lining up to watch it! What a storyteller you are!

  11. Andrew at Garden Smackdown on September 25, 2010 at 7:52 am

    So… I hope you’re recording this adventure, because I have a feeling it’s going to be bookworthy in the end. Yes? I remember your mentioning this garden — I’m intrigued!

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