I recently visited Bedrock Garden in Lee and I felt refreshed and bright. A.D.
Jill Noni is a talented designer who has won numerous awards at the Boston Flower Show. She is a welder who uses her skills to create metal sculptures from small to large, and to work with other media. Bob Jill is a natural builder and architect who has enabled her to put her art into the landscape with water features, walls, roads and much more. In fact, they are a couple who make the best of each other.
When I visited the gardens, Jill was fortunate to be my guide. Visiting the gardens with me was also managed by John Forty, a non-profit executive director and horticulturist. We spent about three hours exploring the gardens, and I learned many plants that I had never seen before.
Bedrock Garden is full of amazing things that delight, enlighten and inspire visitors. I came away with a big garden for my own efforts and thanked Jill and Bob for adding them to their garden.
For years, the Bedrock Garden was open for a few weekends during the summer, but five years ago, Jill and Bob decided that they should take the future of the garden seriously, as some were approaching. They created nonprofits, hired John Fortin as director and thought about how to differentiate between public and private spaces.
At the time of the outbreak, they had created a parking lot and a tourist center, away from their old farm, where they had lived for more than 40 years. They have created a family environment that is as enjoyable as the children themselves.
Next to the parking lot, children can enter the gnome house, which is made of a huge, bare fig tree covered with a metal roof reminiscent of Jill mushroom hats. She saw the amazing empty pole next to the road and immediately touched her brake to ask. Luckily, she was the first to ask, she found. (Five other people stopped and asked him that day, she told me, but she was the first).
I consider myself well exposed to the horticultural gallery in New Hampshire. Bedrock Garden is in Zone 5b, which means it will not be colder than 25 degrees Fahrenheit for most years. But Jill grew up with a lot of plants that I had never seen before, including many trees in Japan or China.
Jill Nuni used plants in amazing ways. So, for example, she used beetle “beetle blood” in her flower bed with its dark purple leaves. Annual effort, but very impressive. When a hollow tree was cut down, Bob cut it into two-foot sections and overlapped the sections between the two trees, so that pedestrians would see it as binoculars. He can see where the branches are growing. They call it “Log Jam.”
Jill made good use of ornamental grass throughout the garden. Miscanthus spp. But she also uses it in the shade. “She’s smart,” she said. “I like that.”
Metal sculpture is an integral part of every garden. At the beginning of our visit, I admired the የተሰራ-inch steel fireplace, which was built with a series of 11 arches, 13 feet high and 7 feet long. “I use the sky,” she said. She folded each metal frame into a well-marked Gothic arch and simulated the lines of the Gothic cathedral. And she is developing European fast-paced houses to wear the metal frame as part of the installation – one on the archways and attached to the metal. They will finally reach heaven – the tip of the arch.
There are also two chihuras in the garden, made of antelope masks made by Malian Bambara people. I told Jill the Antalope myth in Mali, where I had worked with the Peace Corps for many years. The people of Bambara admire the ants they have taught to sow the main crop. The ant bites the ground and sends a small amount of manure into the soil. So Jill celebrated with a beautiful face mask.
So if you can, plan a visit to Bedrock Garden. There is a guided tour every day, and two days a week. Or wander around and study design objects – see how Jill uses amazing and inspiring plants, and how she adds fun and exciting art and wisdom. This is a garden you should visit, even if you don’t have much space or energy to raise Jill and Bob. Bring lunch and plan for the day. They are happy to do it. And if you have kids in your life, think about attending the Fair Hobbit House Festival October 9-11. Learn more at www.bedrockgardens.org.
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