Friday, July 17, 2015

The Gardens by the Vineyards

"Short days ago/ We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow/ Loved and were loved..." from In Flanders Fields

Like a bee drawn to a flower, I can't resist a gorgeous garden. While I admire the grand expansiveness of Versailles' chateau grounds on the outskirts of Paris or the futuristic wonder that is Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, it's the simple vegetable garden that most captures my imagination. I can close my eyes and pretend that it's mine. That it's attainable.

Driving through the countryside of Dry Creek Valley in Northern California, what I mostly see when I look around is this...

Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma
Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery

Vineyards stretching hither and yon, as far as the eye can see. I am in the birthplace of California wine making.

After living in Malaysia on an island covered in lush, tropical jungle and accustomed to seeing one palm tree plantation after another whenever we took a roadtrip on the mainland, these acres of wine producing grapes seem almost exotic. They are what draw hordes of tourists and wine connoisseurs to the region. But I am more interested in what's huddled up close to the vineyard tasting rooms.


Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma
The neat and tidy veggie gardesn of Quivira Vineyards
 and this...

Tall stalks of lupine at Quivira Vineyards

It's the home garden that I fantasize about creating. Instead of going in to try glasses of wine, I'm having more fun wandering around the yard and pretending that it's mine. I'm getting drunk on daydreams.

Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma
Sunflower Salutation

In my mind's eye, I'm carrying a big basket on one arm and a little pair of clippers in the other. I gather fresh vegetables for the day's meals and cut flowers to arrange in vases around my home.

Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma
"Dandelion Wine. The words were summer on the tongue.The wine was summer caught and stoppered."  - Ray Bradbury

I have time to lazily lie on my back, gazing at the sky and looking for cloud formations. Time to watch my children pluck dandelions and blow on it puff by puff.

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" - William Shakespeare

For goodness sake, time to stop and smell the roses.

But I don't ever seem to have the time.

The life of an expat and traveler seem at odds with this yearning I have for a bountiful garden. In getting ready to leave our home in Texas to move overseas, I carefully winnowed down my flower beds, leaving only the sturdy perennials that could hold on for a few years until I returned. Now that I'm back, I can't seem to get  into the groove of gardening. I find myself not wanting the bother of figuring out who will water my plants when I'm on a trip.

The tasting room at Preston Vineyards

So, I pretend. I pretend that the tasting room is my house.

View from the Preston Vineyards tasting room

And that my friend Julia who is driving me around lives next door in an equally quaint cottage.

Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma
The chicken yard

As long as I'm dreaming, I may as well have chickens...

... and my kids don't mind going out to collect eggs every day. If I'm going to dream, I may as well dream BIG.

Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma
Garden path under the pergola

Alas, it's all just a dream. A giant dose of fantasy layered over everything that I see. So, I fold up my thoughts and store them carefully in the back of my brain, hoping that they'll someday see fruition in real life. In the meantime, I can walk the gardens by the vineyards and enjoy them for what they truly are.

Does your desire to travel affect the choices you make in everyday life at home?

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  1. One thing I really miss living on a boat is having a garden! Your pictures are so much fun and I love your phrase about "getting drunk on daydreams." Those are the best kind of daydreams to have - the ones that make you slightly tipsy with delight from looking at all those gorgeous plants. Cheers - Ellen

  2. Beautiful pictures and I really like the sunflower capture.It is always nice to walk through a garden.

  3. Love your photos. I too fantasize about living in the tasting rooms - some of them are so quaint and organic. But I know the collecting eggs thing would get old after a day or two for my kids!

  4. I love the gardens at wineries. I think they maybe my favourite part (apart from the wine-tasting!) Beautiful photos.

  5. I love vinyards - they're so pretty.The Prestons one looks like Provence....

  6. Oh I love the gardens, but that blue sky is pretty spectacular as well. Love the quotes with the photos!

  7. What a fun post. I too like to dream I have some of the wonderful gardens I tour or live in the quaint and historic houses.

  8. I think that is the beauty of travel it expands our minds, makes us dream and turns our ordinary lives into something extrordinary.

  9. Wonderful dreams and beautiful photos to support them.

  10. Vineyards are so beautiful but this one is even better with the flowers and veggies.

  11. Amazing post dear!

  12. I could live there, and garden, and have chickens, and sip on wine, and live slowly, without a doubt! Lovely NoCal!

  13. Stunning! What a beautiful place.

  14. What a beautiful place to daydream! I kind of got lost in my own daydream, looking at your photos, and reading along!

  15. Michele, I definitely find myself at odds with the various things I love. For example, I haven't owned a pet in years, because we travel way too much. I miss that, but I won't give up traveling.

    Happy #wkendtravelinspiration!

  16. We are kind of attracted to the same things. I love to walk around vineyards. In the Santa Ynez Valley, I have discovered a lot of backroads that take thru vineyards, plantations and ranches. There is always something new and beautiful to discover.

  17. What a wonderful place! I love gardens too, especially vegetable and flower gardens like this one! I like to grow my own little veggie garden - of course, we are in an apartment so it is a container garden on the balcony. I grow tomatoes, hot peppers, and herbs each year. The only challenge is if we go away for a while, I have to ask someone to water them each day for me! I love checking in on my garden and being able to eat the veggies it produces!

  18. I love gardens and these are gorgeous. It's impossible not to daydream when your surrounded by all that beauty. I used to garden, but not since moving to Asia. It's a pain finding someone to look after the plants when I'm not here, and I also discovered that plants don't like gas. Anywhere I have lived here has a gas heat source, and the plants simply die. It took me 5 years to decide that I could have a cat here. I've been lucky. Everyone loves Indy, and I have no problem finding sitters when I travel. Thanks for linking up last week. #TPThursday


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