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The Humble Blogger's Garden, pix by Maureen Neuman

The Humble Blogger’s Garden, pix by Maureen Neuman

It’s probably no surprise for those few of you who follow MillersTime closely (a couple of loyal family members and several other friends who have nothing better to do with their time) that I am thoroughly enjoying my retirement with its freedom from the care taking at The Frost School and of my parents and that I am loving the freedom to choose each day what to do with my time.

But I have to admit that I somewhat frequently get the questions, “Don’t you miss working and what do you do with your time?”

The answer to the first question is an unequivocal “No,” even though those ‘working’ years were wonderful.

The answer to the second question is a bit more complicated, as no two days are similar. I might choose to read an entire day, go to a mid day movie, or work on my second ‘work’ love, writing a post for MillersTime. Or I might focus on the Red Sox (Spring Training for example) or even attend a Nationals’ game with a friend, which is much less stressful than watching a Sox game. Then there are my daughters and whatever is occupying their lives. Trying to keep up with the grand kids has become even more interesting with the addition of a third (see the post, Three Is Much More Than Two). And, of course, there is always travel as I am free to join Ellen on any of her many work trips around the country and around the world, where I spend part of a day observing her world, then explore whatever place she has taken me, before we both add on a few days of langiappe, exploring wherever we are.

All of the above is a somewhat meandering introduction to today’s post.

Another activity that I have been able to undertake has been the two-year planning, development, and creation of two Chinese Classical style gardens in the two small spaces beside and behind our house. Actually, as you will learn from the attached link, I have been thinking about Chinese gardens ever since Ellen, my father, and I first went to Suzhou in the 1980s. Something about those gardens grabbed me and has stuck with me for more than 30 years, even tho I have never thought I had much interest in plants, flowers, and gardens in general.

Anyway, with the completion of a makeover for our kitchen and an upgrade of our study/library and sun porch (another two-year project that I was able to oversee), I turned my attention to the two contiguous outdoor spaces, one next to our kitchen and one next to our sun porch, which I have long been thinking about as possibilities for replicating some of the delights of the Classical Chinese Gardens.

With a wonderful partnership with a landscape gardener, Thomas Virnston, (click to link to his website and a video of the two gardens), we are nearing the completion of these two spaces, which, with the help of our long time friend Ping, we’ve named them The Humbler Blogger’s Garden (after The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou, one of China’s best classical gardens) and The Fragrant Reader’s Garden.

Through a friend of Thomas’, an article on the creation and completion (mostly) of these two gardens was just ‘published’ on the website Divine Culture Insider: A magazine about traditional culture and contemporary society inspired by the performances of Shen Yun.

The author and photographer for the article, Maureen Neuman, has restored my faith in reporters as I think she has captured the essence of what we’ve tried to create.

If you are using a laptop or desk computer, click on the link below this paragraph and have some patience as the PDF of Maureen’s article may take a few moments to load.

Divine Culture Insider, Fall 2013 Suzhou Gardens – High Res.pdf

It’s also possible to simply read the on-line article from the link below this paragraph, but you will miss the wonderful graphics and some pictures. If you chose this link, be sure to click on the two links below the article as Terri’s reporting in this version is split into three parts.

A Washingtonian’s Suzhou Gardens


We certainly are.

And consider coming to see the two gardens yourself.