There is also wine from Jewell Towne Vineyards, a selection of cheeses from C'est Cheese, and plates of hors-d'oeuvres materializing here and there as my husband and I walk and talk with friends. Artists are painting and their work is on display. A jazz band is playing. There is a raffle and auction to support this worthy cause, a turn-of-the-century estate garden now open to the public.
As grownups, we already know what Mary learns in "The Secret Garden." We know how to tend and care for living things. Many of us have even brought a garden back from near-dead, or at least a lawn.
"I love these roses. Look at this velvety orange-red one - it's called 'Hot Cocoa.'"
"I got several of my roses from cuttings sold at the annual Mother's Day event here. I'm having a terrible time with Japanese beetles this year. I have to pick them off and drop them in hot soapy water."
"That's why I gave up growing roses and I just visit them here."
We pass through the Japanese garden, crossing the bridge over the koi pond, and enter the perennial garden. "Look at the foxglove. And the astilbe is amazing."
"My echinacea doesn't look this good."
"Have you ever noticed, now that we're older, that we just seem to know the names of plants? How does that happen?"
"Home ownership, probably."
Our tending and caring not always easy, though in the long run it's always worth it. We like little breaks now and then from our houses and children and jobs to commiserate and celebrate with our peers.
"Your youngest is off to college in the fall? Empty nest?"
"Nope, I just got six chickens."
We raise a glass among the flowers of July and toast our perpetual, almost compulsive involvement in Life.
. . .
The annual evening garden party at Fuller Gardens was July 13th this year. But for $9, you can visit any day between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. until the gardens close for the winter around mid-October.
The gardens are located at 10 Willow Ave. in North Hampton.
. . .
"If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden." - Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of "The Secret Garden"