On the 30th of September, my fiancee and I celebrated our 4th anniversary. Since we’re not native Missourians, we like to travel around on our anniversary, and even when it isn’t, to see what the four-state region has to offer. Well, this past weekend we traveled about an hour away into the great state of Oklahoma to visit Grove. Granted, there didn’t seem to be much going on, but since we’d never been there before we didn’t really know what to expect.
One of the places we did want to stop was Lendonwood Gardens. It’s open to the public during daylight hours and maintained by generous donations provided by the visitors. Again, with no idea what to expect, we were impressed with almost everything, except how warm it was. But you can see the clear blue sky and very light cloud coverage in the back of this image–very beautiful day!
A sense of peace and calm permeated the entire garden, even with other visitors walking around, discussing the plant life, and enjoying the day.
There was plenty to see in this six-acre garden sporting 1200 different varieties of plants, “including the largest collection of rhododendrons in the Southwest, 500 varieties of daylilies, and 25 varieties of dogwoods.”
Among the seven themed gardens in Lendonwood, it was no surprise to be greeted with so much vegetative diversity. The Display Garden greets you just past the gate. The Oriental and Japanese Pavilion Gardens provide shade and beauty, featuring an active koi pond and the majority of the dogwoods, rhododendrons, and azaleas.
Most of the plants I didn’t recognize on sight, which makes me want to go out and study botany right about now, but that fact didn’t take away from the serenity provided by the bright colors, clean air, and deep connection to the environment that I felt taking it all in.
The English Terrace and American Backyard Gardens felt the most familiar to me. Though I’ve never been to England, I’ve read books and seen movies where the countryside is detailed and it was like walking into a gust of familiar air. Amid the American Backyard Garden stood a beautiful, white iron gazebo.
The second I saw it, I imagined the two main characters from my novel-in-progress underneath it, and I just had to have some images of it for descriptive purposes. Though the majority of that story will be taking place in Romania, I thought this white gazebo would be the perfect location for a clandestine romantic rendezvous or the planning of a nefarious coup plot. Either way, in that moment, I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Quite beautiful.
The last two gardens, we didn’t really get a good look at. I think somewhere around the Japanese Pavilion Garden we got turned around between the stone paths and the grassy paths (no complaints here!), and we couldn’t find the Angel of Hope Garden. The statue in the picture from the site is gorgeous, though. And the Azalea Garden seemed to be on the other side of a private citizen’s driveway. Hard-pressed to intrude on someone else’s territory, I decided not to pursue the Azalea Garden; even though my fiancee made the point that it might have been the garden manager’s home. Looking back, I kind of wish I’d been more headstrong and just done it. Eh, you live; you learn. 🙂 Either way, it was a great trip and a beautiful way to spend the afternoon.
When we got home from Grove, (the other place we wanted to see didn’t appear to be open, let alone operational) my fiancee and I exchanged gifts. If this girl doesn’t know me, then no one does.