Wonderland: Images from the Garden by Mary Tiegreen

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“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.”
—Buddha

My love affair with growing things began over 15 years ago when my husband and I left Manhattan and moved to a whimsical hamlet in the Hudson Valley. After living in apartments in New York for almost 20 years, I was unfamiliar with nature in general, and had no idea what to do with the ground we now owned.

That first year, a well-meaning neighbor (who was eccentric on normal days but had been taking some medication that was making him wacky) suggested I might want to order some tulip bulbs. It was late October and he was putting in an end of season order, and could add some for me. Sure, I said. Maybe some red and white ones?

Two days later I got a call from the neighbor. The bulbs are here, he said. Really? I thought. I hadn’t even seen the catalog. How many did you order for me? I asked. A lot, he said.

The following evening, he showed up with a crew and began digging up our front yard. They could only work at night so he strung lights from the trees to the house and shined a flashlight on the ground as they dug a flat bed in the lawn all across the front of the house. Rich black top soil, bone meal and fertilizer filled the deep beds, blanketing the
bulbs for the winter to come.

3,000 tulips, daffodils, snowdrops, grape hyacinth and tiny purple irises had found a new home in a whimsical village on the Hudson River.

Needless to say, the following spring things were looking pretty good. Cars slowed down as they passed our house. And I got a reputation as an accomplished gardener.

Still had no idea what I was doing. But this had really peaked my interest. I started planting things. And things started coming up! Foxgloves and lupine and peonies and roses. Johnny Jump-ups and bleeding hearts. Ferns unfurling above a carpet of Sweet Woodruff and Vinca.

I grew zucchini the size of Volkswagens, parked for most of the summer under enormous leaves. Six kinds of heirloom tomatoes, Black Beauty eggplant, calla lilies, sunflowers, and a pale blue sea of Forget-me-nots.

Then there were the beans. I grew pole beans that tangled with morning glories; French beans and Royal Purple beans and Cranberry beans and Dragon Tongue beans. I get a little bean crazy every year, but I find them just so beautiful in their colors and shapes.

The garden and everything about it was beautiful to me! It was here that I began to find a sense of wonder that I had misplaced long ago. This process, this experience, brought me back to the way I saw the world when I was a child, when everything in the world was magical and surprising and new.

Being a photographer and designer, I couldn’t let these amazing things fade without being recorded. So I began making portraits of the many visitors to my little whimsical garden—flowers, vegetables and a few curiosities that I discovered while looking for something else.

As the collection grew, I was astonished at all the beauty that surrounds us every day, if only we take the time to have a closer look.

This Wonderland gallery includes many pictures that were in the show called “Wonderland: Revisiting the Garden” which opened at the National Arts Club in New York on June 1, 2010.

My love affair with growing things began in 1995 when my husband and I left Manhattan and moved to a whimsical village up the Hudson River.

They say that gardening is the triumph of hope over experience. I had plenty of the former and none of the latter. The garden and everything about it was beautiful to me! It was here that I began to find a sense of wonder that I had misplaced long ago. This process, this experience, brought me back to the way I saw the world when I was a child, when everything in the world was magical and surprising and new.

Being a photographer and designer, I took the inspiration I found in the garden and began creating portraits of the many visitors to my garden—flowers, vegetables, and a few curiosities that I discovered while looking for something else.

Wonderland gallery includes many pictures that were in the show called “Wonderland: Revisiting the Garden” which opened at the National Arts Club in New York on June 1, 2010.

I’m adding new images all the time, so please stop back often.

Galleries

Wonderland

Updated: Aug 27, 2010 12:08pm EST

White

Updated: Jun 20, 2010 1:21pm EST

Blue

Updated: Jun 20, 2010 1:27pm EST

Yellow

Updated: Jun 20, 2010 1:29pm EST

Red and Orange

Updated: Jun 20, 2010 1:32pm EST

Pink

Updated: Jun 20, 2010 1:34pm EST

Green

Updated: Jun 20, 2010 1:43pm EST

Roses

Updated: Jul 17, 2010 3:51pm EST

Tulips

Updated: Jul 17, 2010 6:58pm EST

Aging Gracefully

Updated: Jun 20, 2010 1:37pm EST

Food

Updated: Jul 17, 2010 3:48pm EST

Vegetables

Updated: Jun 20, 2010 1:46pm EST

Lost and Found

Updated: Jun 20, 2010 1:36pm EST

balls

Updated: Jul 29, 2010 12:17pm EST

Slideshow

All Images Copyright © 2014 Wonderland: Images by Mary Tiegreen