The light was not bright this morning, except for a strip of silver out on Grand Traverse Bay, but even on an overcast day our gardens sing with color. Doing my daily bank and post office errands, I enjoy the garden in front of the township library (planted and maintained by loyal, talented volunteers), the garden at the house on the corner (next door to the library), and the one across the street, on the bank corner, looking toward the marina.
|Garden at corner house|
|Marina parking lot back right, depot back left|
Errands accomplished and van unloaded (boxes and bags of “new” used books on their way to the shelves at Dog Ears Books), I decided to take the time to drive around the village and look at a few more gardens. Downtown gardens are really beautiful this year.
|Looking west (uphill) on Nagonaba|
|Looking east (toward harbor) on Nagonaba|
It was still early enough that I had time to make a circuit around several residential blocks. This old house where the Garthe sisters used to live (the same sisters who had who served chicken dinners at a restaurant out on the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan back in the old days) has sweet, old-fashioned flowers in bloom all around it, some in the ground, some in pots. The flag adds a patriotic note.
David Chrobak, former proprietor of the Old Mill Pond Inn and initiator of the Northport Dog Parade (now in its twenty-first year), always has a garden different from anyone else’s. On Mill Street, old iron bed headboards painted bright red draw attention to his front yard.
|"Dead People's Stuff"|
Farther up Mill Street, Deb Kohler’s garden at the Indigo House is more traditional but no less exuberant.
Back across the street on the corner are yet more flowers. The truth is, it's hard to find a barren corner anywhere in Northport.
The real treat of the morning, though, came when one homeowner and gardener invited me past the front sidewalk and through a magic gateway to the hidden garden behind her house. She apologized for her roses, saying they had pretty much “bloomed out,” but promising me that the lilies in the backyard were at their peak. She also gave me a couple of gardening tips that I hope to put to use at home in my modest border plantings. This gardener had truly created an entire world, and even "past their prime," the shrub roses looked beautiful to me.
|Entrance to magic kingdom|
But I wouldn’t be giving you a Northport garden tour without a nod to nonfloral decorative features. Here is a sample pair of strange creatures:
And then there are those of us who can’t sink a spade in the ground at our places of business. We must make do with window boxes and pots and do what we can to add color to the downtown streets. "Bloom where you're planted." "Brighten the corner where you are." The sun doesn't shine every day, but summer is full of bright colors.