Why Everyone Needs A Secret Garden – A Garden Plan for Softening a Privacy Fence and Melding It Into the Garden

Not long ago, I visited The Cloisters in New York City. By definition, a cloisters area is an open hallway that surrounds a protected garden. It is a natural walkway where monks and nuns might retreat into nature and still have a degree of protection from the elements, like wind, rain, snow, sun–and other people, too.

At the Cloisters in New York City, there are several gardens, and all of them are peaceful–like sanctuaries. As I was walking around and through those gardens, I thought to myself that everyone needs a natural sanctuary–a garden where they can retreat from society and its demands.

“When the hornet hangs in the hollyhock, And the brown bee drones i’ the rose, And the west is a red-streaked four-o’clock, And summer is near its close It’s Oh, for the gate, and the locust lane; And dusk, and dew, and home again!” – Madison Cawein

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In the above photo, you see my grapevine-covered gate and arbor that framed the entrance into my backyard in my New Jersey garden. This is only one of the many arbors that I had built to enclose myself and to create a sense of privacy for myself while I was in that garden. I grew several types of clematises and roses on those fences.

When it is possible, I grow fragrant flowers, like lavender, peonies, and irises, and strolling through my garden also becomes an experience of aromatherapy.

Jacki Kellum Garden in New Jersey

Jacki Kellum Garden Gate in New Jersey

“Come into the garden, Maud, For the black bat, night, has flown,
Come into the garden, Maud, I am here at the gate alone; Maud
And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
And the musk of the rose is blown.
For a breeze of morning moves, And the planet of Love is on high,
Beginning to faint in the light that she loves On a bed of daffodil sky.” – Tennyson

Forest Daffodil
Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting

 


Fireball Red Hibiscus
Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting

One of my primary purposes for gardening is to grow a ready supply of flowers and other pants for painting. Another reason is that my spirit needs to live amidst the flowers that I plant to become my garden. The above fireball hibiscus was planted in my New Jersey, near my waterfall.

Jacki Kellum Garden Pond and Waterfall August 2015

This past summer, I moved to the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas, and you cannot travel far in any direction without seeing REAL waterfalls and creeks.

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor, nature and water

“I divined and chose a distant place to dwell
I pick leaves to thatch a hut among the pines
Scoop out a pond and lead a runnel from the spring
By now I am used to doing without the world
Picking ferns I pass the years that are left.” Han Shan

Another reason that I garden is to transform the houses where I live into my homes. Relatively speaking, our years on earth are few, and every day that we pretend to be someone that we are not are precious years wasted. Hours that we spend agonizing because we do not feel accepted or appreciated or loved are simply hours lost. Because living can become painful and toxic, we need an antidote and a place to heal. My garden is my antidote for life’s wounds and it is where I go to be restored. Even during the winter, nature is my solace.

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Jacki Kellum’s Garden Gate in New Jersey

“When the hornet hangs in the hollyhock, And the brown bee drones i’ the rose, And the west is a red-streaked four-o’clock, And summer is near its close It’s Oh, for the gate, and the locust lane; And dusk, and dew, and home again!” – Madison Cawein


Jacki Kellum’s cabin-like home on top of the highest hill in Harrison, Arkansas.

In New Jersey, I had an established cottage garden, but having only recently moved to the Arkansas Ozarks, I have a blank slate again.

The back of the house sits high off the ground, and the trees literally touch the house in places. When I’m sitting on my back deck, I feel as though I live in a treehouse.

I did not arrive in Harrison early enough to do much gardening during my first summer there, but my friend and business manager had my yard fenced before I moved in. I created a container garden on the deck’s wall.  I am beginning to think about how I’ll plant along the lower wall next spring and to help me do that,  I’ll rely heavily on the following free plans that I found at   Better Homes & Gardens:

EnglishFront_GardenPlan

 https://www.bhg.com/gardening/plans/special-spots/garden-plan-to-soften-a-fence/

 

 

 

 

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