Sunday, June 21, 2009

Over 200 varieties of roses in a hidden city garden

Today was a day full of beauty starting out at the Isabella Stuart Gardner museum, just a few steps from the MFA. If you've never been there, it's a must. This outrageous aesthete, years ahead of her time in dress, behaviour, and artistic vision, partnered with Bernard Berenson who found her myriad treasures, especially in Italy. This is the closest structure we have to an authentic Venetian palace, supposedly brought stone by stone from the land of the big boot. Cameras—flash or no flash—are verbotten, but today's member only outing— at the museum before it was opened to the public—I was able to learn that human saliva with its acidity and enzymes is often the best liquid to remove what the guide called "Gardner Grime," which had settled into the gold leaf surface on a wedding Cassone. After a delicious lunch of apricot and grape chicken salad, I wandered home via the Back Bay Fens—what was originally wetlands—became part of the Emerald Necklace Gardens designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted in the 1880s. Landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff redesigned a small section of it into the Kelleher Rose Gardens which now, thanks to the efforts of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, contain over 200 varieties of roses.

After that, I wandered down the narrow pathways of the Fenway Victory Gardens between the little private plots offered to Boston residents who want to commune with Natured in the center of the city. Today I heard that a walk in nature has as much anti-depressant power as a pill when treating mid level depression and anxieties. I always come away from these walks renewed and motivated to call the Fenway Garden Society to find out one more time where I am on the waiting list to get my own little plot of land. Moving from photography to messing in the dirt to make things grow is an adventure I've yet to experience.

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