My grandparents' house, set back from the street, right in the middle of town, stood on a couple of acres. A vegetable garden in the back, pecan trees in the front, and fruit trees all around seemed commonplace. What seemed extraordinary to me were the big white hydrangeas that flanked one entire side, lining the property from front to back-- like a never-ending hedge of fluffy snowballs, appearing at once delicate and airy, bold and showy.
I have always loved hydrangeas and now have them in my own yard, along with so many other flowers I can see out my back window, but also in my mind's eye. Camellias, lenten roses, wisteria, Carolina jasmine, quince, antique climbing roses-- all flowers that seem of another place and time.
When I got married, our first home was a Victorian in town that didn't have much of a yard. In fact, there was no back yard at all and a very narrow side yard. The front and side yards were edged all around by an old wrought iron fence. A small yard, to be sure, but we planted flowers that lined the sidewalk leading to the house, and climbing vines and roses all around that fence. Some stood straight like little soldiers, but mostly they climbed, intertwined, fought for space, and grew with abandon. Each year, it was a beautiful fairy-tale like display. When we moved, 3 miles away, I would often run into an old neighbor at the grocery store. He would always stop to speak and, without fail, lean over to tell me that "the old garden just isn't the same without you."
I started this series very recently as part of my 'make a piece of art everyday for a year' mission, and now I can't seem to stop. Here are some of my early images, all from my back yard-- started on Day #29 and fittingly printed in the antique processes of gum dichromate and cyanotype. I'll (hopefully) be adding more each day.
The Old Garden.