Japanese Garden at Maymont

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After days and days of torrential rain, the sun finally came out today.  I was itching to get out, not just to the porch but a little further afield to breathe and rebalance after a busy few days.  I have two favorite places to retreat to when I need some breathing space for a day; the Blue Ridge or the Japanese Gardens at Maymont.  As I got a late start, I chose the latter.

I’ve visited Maymont many times over the years.  It’s a stunning estate and a perfect place to enjoy the outdoors whether with kids in tow, with friends, a family gathering or, in my case today, armed with my camera and newest lens on a mission to be at one with nature.  When my boys were small, we always had to start at the Farm and Nature Center, then we would wind our way down to see the bears.  Next we would enter into the Japanese Gardens and all of a sudden my rambunctious little boys would suddenly become calm and quiet.  It’s that beautiful and zen-like.  The effect hasn’t changed and it’s why I continue to gravitate there when I need a mini-break from regular life.

I entered through the Italian Gardens and wound my way down the steep steps and was treated to the most lush verdant sight in what is a very intimate space. All that rain had produced a spectacular result and with the sun brightly shining, I found a spot to sit at by the water and soak it all in.  I’m fascinated by light and today was the perfect day to study the different shadows and effects throughout the Gardens.  There are so many trees of differing species and they provide a gorgeous and extensive canopy which further accentuates the intimacy of this garden.

 

I encountered some wildlife too, the snake being my least favorite!

 

Part of the charm of this garden are it’s bridges, stonework and small huts that are scattered throughout.  The stepping stones are a favorite, of course, especially with children.  I didn’t get a good picture of the Koi, but there are many giant ones in the pond.

 

There’s something so very therapeutic about being in this special place.  I always feel better for having been there.  The experience can be very different depending on who you are with.  Being there alone today, I noticed so much more, particularly as I had my camera in hand.  No one was looking at the giant turtle submerged just beneath the surface of the water, nor did they pay attention to the sweet small turtle basking in the heat of the sun.  I was grateful however, to the family who were paying attention to the snake when I approached.  The tranquility of the place would have been momentarily and most rudely interrupted by my piercing screams should that thing have slithered across the path in front of me!

 

After a lovely couple of hours of wandering and photographing, I felt restored and balanced.  And hot.  I hadn’t realized just how warm and humid it was.  After the steep climb back up the hill to the Italian Garden, I took a few minutes to rest and enjoy that garden.  What a lovely visit and such a gem to have so close to home, surely one of my favorite places in Richmond.  I always leave there more peaceful and content.

 

 

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