Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Christmas Reflections from Texas

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, NJ Garden Coach and Speaker, Christmas in Round Top Texas
Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, NJ Garden Coach and Speaker, Festival Hill, Madalene Hill

Festival Hill, Round Top Texas

Hello Fellow Readers,

One of the greatest gifts of Christmas is spending time with loved ones. I’ve just returned from visiting lifelong friends that live outside of Austin. First stop was Round Top Texas where Dorothy from my college days lives. She’s an artist with a gallery right in the center of the charming historic town known for their seasonal antique fairs. Some of you may know the Junk Gypsies show on HGTV filmed in Round Top. There’s Festival Hill, a picturesque campus of stone buildings and bridges with magnificent gardens surrounding a venue for music festivals, theatre, and poetry. Even an herbal forum is held there. We stumbled upon a Pharmacy Garden named after Madalene Hill, known as the Grand Dame of Herbs who lived to be 95.  She co-authored Southern Herb Growing published in 1987 – “Grow Where You are Planted,” her iconic signature at books signings.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, NJ Garden Coach and Speaker, Festival Hill, Madalene Hill, Pharmacy Garden

Pharmacy Garden at Festival Hill

Madalene served as President of the Herb Society of America from 1986 to 1988. After which she became a “full-time volunteer” of Festival Hill helping to expand the gardens to include rare plants and an extensive herb collection including a Mary Garden. The sign explains “In medieval times flowers had yet to be given Latin botanical names and were called by common names. Many were associated with the Virgin Mary…”- a strawberry plant (Fragaria vesca) labeled Fruitfulness of Mary and sweet marjoram (Origanum marjorama) named Mother of God’s Flower to name a few. “Some, such as the marigold Mary’s Gold and Madonna Lily still go by the common names today.” Of course, the gardens are dormant just like here, but I was intrigued by each raised bed labeled by a country of origins such as Africa, China, and the Middle East, filled with herbs specifically grown for medicinal purposes, though many are also edible.

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Some folks thought Elsa was my mom…

Next stop was the hill country of Lago Vista on Lake Travis to visit Elsa. Her family immigrated from Cuba when she was nine. We met commuting into New York City way back when; her adopted son in the single digits then. Soon after we bought a two-family house, each lived on one floor, and became “family”. How we loved to garden the postage stamp backyard. Folks used to think I was her daughter, though I tower over her in height but certainly not in spirit. She’s struggling with her health now which is hard to see, but a joy to share time together.  We laughed over memories and reminisced about our mothers now gone. Elsa’s Mom never learned English, though proud to have become an American citizen, and communicated through the love of her actions and her eyes.

As we celebrate the season, I pray for those struggling with illness and recovery and wish for all to relish the memories of those no longer here and cherish those that are…if only in your dreams. Merry Christmas. Garden Dilemmas? AskMaryStone.@gmail.com

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, NJ Garden Coach and Speaker, Festival Hill, Madalene Hill

Dorothy Little planning a painting of the bridge at Festival Hill.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, NJ Garden Coach and Speaker, Rund Top Texas, D Little Gallery

D. Little Gallery, Round Top Texas

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog,Northern New Jersey Landscape Designer, NJ Garden Coach and Speaker, Dorothy Little

“Golden Girls” since college…

 

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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