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oil and the slow growing olive at the side of the house. Once you arrive at the weeping cherry, its placement inspired by the adjacent stained glass window, the view of the backyard resembles a secret clearing in an enchanted forest. Inside the “Oval” garden, where the flowering apricot blooms powdery pink at Christmastime, turquoise wire chair and table are surrounded by camellia, hellebore, fern and azalea, and a copper bird bath brims with rainwater. The flagstone path, now lined with yellow jonquils, leads across the lawn to a garden arbor heavy with climbing vines. With any luck, “the banksiae rose will be a waterfall of yellow blooms” for the tour, says Robin Kelly Tickner, one of the garden’s faithful stewards. But flowering or not, the grand entrance of the “Upper” garden is a portal to what can only be described as a fairy wonderland — a playful world where flowering perennials are punctuated by garden boulders and fanciful copper art. Unusual features include an elegant wrought iron bed filled with pansies and a massive stone sculpture of Demeter, mother-goddess of harvest slash neighborhood garden angel. “She was the last thing on the truck,” recalls Ruth of the move from Sarasota, Florida, in 2005. And when movers unloaded the seraphic figure at 2 o’clock in the morning, they asked Ruth for a shovel. Demeter informs the entire garden. According to ancient Greek myth, when her virgin daughter, Persephone, was abducted by the god of the underworld, Hades, Demeter was overcome with such profound grief that the seasons altogether stopped. Zeus sent his messenger, Hermes, to the underworld to fetch her, but since Persephone had secretly eaten a handful of pomegranate seeds while in the realm of the dead, she became bound there for certain months of the year — the unfruitful seasons on Earth. A world without seasons is how Ruth might describe her time in Florida, home for thirty-five years. “I found plants that were drought and heat tolerant,” says Ruth, “but I didn’t miss the seasons because I didn’t know about the seasons.” In Sarasota, Demeter overlooked a grassy landscape and swimming pool. “The kids wanted her to come to Wilmington,” says Ruth. Daughter Stephanie, middle of three, lives just through the woods. Granddaughters Alyna, 10, and Ashlyn, 7, were responsible for picking out the air plants and ornamentals (peperomia, polka dot and zebra plants, dwarf mondo grass) that will accent bird cages, baskets and other fairy garden vessels on the tour. Inside these imaginative worlds, deer figurines are nestled among tiny bird houses and lush greenery, and woodland critters are perched on miniature foot bridges and mossy beds. The Art & Soul of Wilmington

April 2015 •

Salt

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April Salt 2015  

the Art & Soul of Wimington

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