Foxfire Botanical Gardens. From the top: panoramic view of the pond. In the middle: one of two koi ponds outside the tea house; one of about five uprooted trees arranged so that the roots formed a screen; garden path. Bottom: one of many meditative sculptural works; view from inside the tea house toward the koi ponds, to my rear was a large zen garden; hostas for sale.
The clouds in the top pictures were, at the time, rumbling a warning. Soon, the "lights" began to flash and we mumbled to each other about the weather, but still chose to ignore. Then the rain started to fall, but only over the pond -- we could see the raindrops dotting the surface of the water, but felt not a one ourselves -- for a few minutes, anyway. And still... You only get so many chances and warnings. We thought we'd take refuge in the gift shop, but there really wasn't much of one and no one was there, anyway! My companions took shelter under a canopy near the miniature hosta garden (the likes of which you've never seen and whatever you've got in mind -- it's better, even as you're being pelted by rain) and I quickly ran through one of the sale areas. Hostas! I saw some recognizable names from my own garden (Blue Angel, Frances Williams, Guacamole, Sum & Substance), and some that I'd like to add someday (Spilt Milk, Fried Bananas!). What I really wanted was a "Q" hosta -- Queen Josephine or Queen of Islip -- for a different angle on that letter for the ABC-Along, but they didn't jump up and wave their hands and it was too wet, so I guess it wasn't meant to be. It was pouring rain. We were all soaked by the time we got back to the car.
Oh, so worth it! We were all so very glad that we went -- my aunts had not been there in 20 years, and my cousin who was with us had never been. Incredibly beautiful. Preparations were underway for a wedding on Saturday -- a big tent covered a tennis court one one side of the pond, tables and parquet dance floor being prepared. It's the perfect setting for a garden wedding.
I'll be going back. ; )