Touring Gardens Heals What Ails You


“You never really leave a place you love, part of it you take with you, leaving a part of you behind.

A friend sent me this quote knowing the fix I have been in. She is a fellow gardener and flower judge that recently moved from Connecticut. She understands! Her Facebook message delivered this quote at the end of a perfect afternoon. I”d returned from a tour featuring seven exceptional gardens. Photographing my way through all of them, I could feel my spirits begin to lift; I was delighted and filled with new inspiration. We all know the saying imitation is a form of flattery. I began to imagine my way into a perfect garden, all my past mistakes eliminated.  My grieving heart, with its intermittent sobs stopped, leaving me with only the occasional hiccup after a long cry. I found myself smiling from a deep place within where joy abides. The gardens were a form of triage, each one passing me off to the next after assessing my damage and deeming me fit to move on. I’d been put on ‘touring’ medication; talking to amazing gardeners who generously answered my questions while I took note of plant combinations and design tricks. I am feeling much better!  Garden tours can heal what ails you. The tour coupled with the gift of this quote assured me that I can take with me what I love about my garden yet part of me can remain.

DSCN2942The Houghtlin Garden May 6, 2013

Knock-Out Roses, Pink Iris, Winter Gem Boxwood – Makes Your Heart Sing

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
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4 Responses to Touring Gardens Heals What Ails You

  1. Tina Downey says:

    I’m a gardener, too! My flower beds have spent April under snow. Here in CO we’ve had our third snowiest April since 1909, and 9th snowiest season – crazy amounts of moisture we desperately needed, but now I’m a month behind caring for my perennials! And let’s not talk about what the snow did to the evil Canadian thistles…or I’ll cry. I find gardening extremely therapeutic. I got mad at the plans for Mother’s Day which had been made for me (see today’s post if you’re curious) so waged a successful war on the baby elms…
    Glad you found your tours therapeutic, and that you have new ideas.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

    • I feel quite sure that gardening in NC is an easier proposition than in CO. We have early springs and long falls. It makes for a year around opportunity to have great looking gardens. Now that we have moved I will stop in and visit your blog hoping to hear how your garden grows.

  2. Bethie says:

    Beautiful posts. I love flowers and gardens, especially my own. I’m fortunate to live where many things grow pretty much the whole year. Healing-at-Hand year round.

    • Thank you for visiting me. I recent move has kept me from writing and posting, which I have missed. Most of the boxes are unpacked and I am happy to return to posting. Here in NC there is a long growing season…roses until December…and early Spring. I have a new blank canvas to design again and between settling in, I’m thinking about what to do. Check on me when you have time and see how it is going.

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