June 19-21, 2010:

The weather has turned gorgeous. Sun, deep blue skies, hardly a cloud, but enough of a sea breeze to keep things from being hot. There aren’t usually a lot of these kind of days in a row in Scotland, so most people make the best of them.

Me? I was writing of course. Got almost another 2,000 words forward (and a lot of back-filling as well) on the novel. Finished the Gator proposal. Started looking through more of Jason’s photos for another new project. Consulted with two friends on books they are trying to write.

And then two dear friends intervened. Marianna and Pete called me up on Sunday. They were going to visit friends of theirs who were involved in a Blebo Craigs open gardens day. Blebo Craigs. You can’t make that up! Would I like to go. . .I don’t think I let Marianna finish her sentence. They picked me up less than an hour later and off we went.

In the end, we only saw two gardens, but they were absolute opposites of one another, which made the day truly interesting. We had to park the car in the lot way to one end of town and were given a map. But it was such a lovely day, and despite the hills (“Craigs” should have been a hint!) we had a glorious time.

First garden was one of those heavily sculptured, tidy gardens, everything manicured and in its place. Some nice stone work, and the best 3/4 view in the county I would guess. It was high up on  a crag and you could look some 60 miles (it was only a tiny bit hazy) to the mountains of the Loch Rannoch region, the lower Highlands. Pete pointed out Schiehallionn (alternately translated as “Fairy Hill,” “Maiden’s Pap,” and “Constant Storm”)and told me how it has a unique place in Scottish scientific history for there Charles Mason did his experiments on figuring out the mass of the Earth in the 1770s.

Second garden, though, about a mile further down the road, was owned by friends of M&P’s. It was a nineteenth century cottage partially made out of the old St A cathedral stones. Perching atop a cliff, it looked down into an old quarry, now a good-sized pond filled with koi carp, duckweed, electric blue dragonflies, damsel fly hatches, and the occasional dog. The garden was an up-and- down marvel, with stone steps leading into magical wildflower patches and stone lintels that served as benches, as well as hideaways and byways, and down in the back meadow hives for bees. We only got to see a bit of it, then Pete and Marianna and I sat by the pond and had a long talk about the prolificity of Earth’s many small natures. Afterwards, we spent time in the owner’s pottery (he is a very well-known Scottish production potter), as well as time with his gorgeous garden-caring wife. This was a garden I could live in or with so long as someone else took care of it! It was certainly magic.

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