Beer bottles clink and laughter rises under the monumental oak that stands sentinel before the Garden Home Retreat at Moss Mountain Farm. Garden bloggers chatter and whoop, someone picks up a chicken and poses for a picture. A gathering of musicians strum and bow at the periphery. It is a testament to P. Allen's easy-going attitude to entertaining, a well-orchestrated but effortless hospitality I wish I could pull off in just a small way someday.
I've wandered away from the party, camera in hand to go back down the garden path to capture the evening light as it washes over the pavilions that punctuate the flower borders, espaliers and edibles. The gardens are empty, the vistas are clear of visitors and sound is muffled below the terraces. It is a time I've come to treasure in my second time at Garden2Blog. It's the "Golden Hour".
The golden hour comes twice a day for photographers, right after sunrise and just before sunset. It is that fleeting moment when light is soft and diffused; shadows are longer and colors are warmer. Ordinary scenes are transformed, extraordinary ones transcended.
I run into Allen coming out of the house and I confess I'm sneaking back for a few photos. I don't add that, "I need a little break". You see, I'm an introvert. Actually I'm an adapted introvert. I'm better at speaking to a group of 200 than three people at a cocktail party. Sometimes I'm just plain awkward. After two days of enjoyable but intense socializing, I'm looking for the exit so to speak.
But don't get me wrong. I am so grateful for these times at Garden2Blog. Once you see the scope of Allen's work, the breadth of his knowledge and the attention to detail, it's not hard to think you're witness to a modern-day Thomas Jefferson. Beyond that it's a priceless chance to meet all your blogging peers and peeps, exchange ideas and see what's up in the gardening community.
This year we talked about how the way in which gardening knowledge is shared has changed or been lacking in recent years, how the inter-generational chain of information has missing links. I'll be adding my thoughts in the next post.
For now join me on this stroll through the gardens while I re-charge. I'll head back to the party in a while, ready to eat dinner and tap my feet to the band.
Evergreens at attention
Wisteria blooms on the posts of Allen's painting studio
Grasses glow along this border
A path beckons beyond the "rose bowl", a rounded area filled with fragrance