Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Garden Mansions

Having grown up in the Baptist Bible Belt of West Texas, I've always heard of the mansions in Heaven, awaiting our arrival. In fact, I can't tell you how many bumper stickers I've seen in my lifetime that read: My REAL treasure is in Heaven.

So, in thinking of Garden Heavens, I couldn't help but to explore the world of "Garden" Mansions.
I saw this picture and immediately started to accessorize the front porch. I picked a fabulous Chinese Chippendale style bench, painted red for good measure, and a pop of color. No cushions, perhaps just a pillow or throw that I'd keep neatly tucked away in the mansion when not in use. My mind travelled to the pond, the image of "my" mansion reflected in its still, mirror-like water. I, sitting on my beautiful new bench, sipping a cup of hot chai tea, the sounds of the song bird living in the evergreen tree keeping my interest while my eyes floated around my heavenly space. There is plenty of room on the bench for friends, the chai is hot, and I've got fresh whipped cream to go around.

This reminded me so much of the West Texas landscape I grew so accustomed to as a child. My own little piece of home. The rusted tin-roof creating a color that no man could ever accomplish on his own, the flowers planted so tightly together that even spiked weeds look as though they were meant to be there, placed to protect the beauty of the garden from whatever critter might live in the wilderness beyond. Perhaps it's the simplicity, or the framing of the porch; maybe it's the landscape or the hand tied fence in the background, but I'd be right at home in this Mansion. A glass of iced sun tea, mixed with fresh oranges, lemons and limes. Mint-leaves frozen into the ice cubes for the cool taste of summer all season long. Won't you join me for a glass?

The reversed tile roof, the stacked stone walls, the way the mansion just is makes me feel humble and thankful to have a place so beautiful. My rocking chair made from the branches of the neighboring pecan trees would rest beautifully inside on the flagstone floor. A perfect view out of the doorway, or window to the expanse of lawn beyond would keep me pleased and content, while I read the latest book Oprah had suggested. A few candles burning on a mesquite table would keep the mansion lit well enough for reading. Book Club anyone?

Each afternoon for exercise sake, I'd make the long walk from my Mansion to the sundial to check the time. Satisfied with my cardiovascular extension, I'd walk back toward the mansion. During the walk back though, I would most definitely be stopped by the beauty and formal lines of the arborvitae, juniper sky rockets, and Alberta spruce. I'd inevitably sit on the beautiful carpet like grass, taking in the beauty that surrounded me, my Garden Heaven if you will. The roof line of my spectacular mansion in the background, the windows positioned to capture the best views of the expansive gardens. A picnic is scheduled for this Friday, with fireworks display and watermelon punch, you're more than welcome ... so long as you don't forget the sweets.

A small mansion, but big enough for me ... would hold some of my favorite family photos, souvenirs from vacations and a gorgeous wicker settee inside. Silk pillows and a crystal chandelier would juxtapose the clean arts and crafts lines of the exterior for a touch of whimsy and cottage chic. A place were dear friends could come and share stories of excursions abroad, while sipping on cool lemonade, with raspberry garnish. Tell me, where have you been lately?

And finally, exquisitely crafted with no real walls for shelter. You're completely open to the elements in this mansion of truly earthy roots. The pine tree trunks that make up the porch posts spindles, the stone foundation with rock steps to the stream I envision below, create an element of sophistication while remaining masculine. I went shopping for this porch, but nothing seemed to work as well as the kilim covered floor cushions I found in my non-mansion. Large enough to be used as floor seating for four, love seat for two, or bed for one they truly are perfectly suited to the earthy style of this beautiful mansion. Scary stories are a little more scary here at dusk, the fire in the fire-pit and air so still, the sounds of unknown creatures afar. Bring your sleeping bag and flashlight ... you'll never guess what you might see going bump in the night.