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  • Lorraine A. Lee

Colonial gardens in Virginia

It was a dim memory of being little holding hands with my mother, walking with my father and sister down the brick and cobblestone streets of Williamsburg when I drove to Virginia to meet my sister Janet and her family. She has two children and everyday, every project, every trip whether far or close is so much more fun when they're around. "I'll go and we can walk down memory lane". We used to visit often since my sweet grandmother and uncle settled here leaving Rhode Island long ago. They tried to convince our aunts and cousins to move but those Yankees were really set in their ways but I loved the Southern cuisine, slow lifestyle and extra politeness of her towns.

My blog is about my encounters with gardens, time spent in nature, gathering inspiration for my artwork and research opportunities in the areas of architecture, history and plant uses. My sister's time in Virginia was only part of her East coast itinerary to show Liam and Maeve where 'our people' first came from before and during the colonial era. I wanted them to stay loner but the call of the total eclipse of the sun was the family vacation's highlight so off they went farther south while I reveled alone in world far away culturally from Massachusetts.

Although it was considerably hot and humid weather, each day was sunny and the people were lovely to chat with so I had no complaints-just give me sun and smiles and I'm very pleased with my surroundings. It amazed me to think of the commitment and hard work it must have taken for our ancestors to plant, care for and harvest all the food they needed to keep body and soul together in the wildness.

Paw Paw was one fruit I was so excited about seeing! There's a resurgence of interest in this southern favorite that grows in 25 states. It's very healthful healthful filled with vitamins A and C and minerals. It tastes like a combination of banana, pineapple and papaya I thought.

The Governor's Palace has landscaped gardens that provide beautiful floral bouquets for the home.

There are almost 30 different gardens in Williamsburg and each one is unique with a special purpose. The town apothecary shop had my favorite garden in the back of the building-all medicinal herbs grown to use inside for customers. It was the most simple yet wonderfully scented garden of them all. Many of the herbs we

can grow here in the Northeast.

It must mean we had fun when we don't want to leave but nightfall came and I had to go back to my hotel to get ready for a very long ride home. Wood was stacked near the homes, and candles were being made which made me think about the coming cold weather. They always had to be preparing for the next seasons while caring for what was sustaining them at the moment. Being gardeners gave them a feeling of the seasons and the connection to the Earth drove their lives. Their children were raised differently from now. They could see the cause and effect of their labor and foresight.


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