Dear friends,

After my couple of weeks in Canada, I ventured south over the border to the beautiful state of Vermont to visit another friend. I had thought to do just a single post from Vermont, but even in the short two-day stay with Lois I realised her garden alone was worth a story, and in a second post I could show the landscape, buildings, artworks etc around the area.

So this photo essay is with thanks to Lois for allowing me to show off her garden at Scrabble Hill which she and her husband bought some twenty years ago and nurtured into the wonderful oasis of colour amid the green forests that it is today. Now on her own, Lois does have some help with the heavy stuff but for the most part still grooms and tends her garden. Her family and many friends are frequent visitors and she is one of the most fun and smart people I know to hang out with. At 85 years old she thinks of me, at a mere 68, as a real youngster. Her energy and mischievious sense of humour are an inspiration. Thank you for your friendship and hospitality, Lois.

Looking from the house towards the lake, red chairs inviting you to sit a while.


A longer shot, showing the forest clad mountains beyond, unfortunately a little overcast.

From the far side of the little lake, looking up to the house.

Very community minded, Lois commissioned this wonderful little shelter at the roadside of her proprty for the Scrabble Hill
letter boxes
, and even added a bench so you could chat with the neighbours or wait for the mailman. 

Her driveway off the road to reach the house, mowing half done, but still too wet to do the rest.

Approaching the house, the guest cottage door and window box flowers, welcoming bright patches of colour. 

Day lilies blooming everywhere and beautiful from any angle.

Need a rake, or a spade or an edge trimmer for the gardening – all clean and orderly.

Need a hat to protect you from the rain or the sunshine – take your pick.

Need a ‘lo-mobile’ to get you around the garden – Lois off to do some chores.

A few other close-ups of some of the flowerbeds around the house, always beautifully colour coordinated.

A beautiful corner by a stream for calm and contemplation.

Another corner of the garden

Lulu – an interesting metal sculture peers at something on a boulder in the garden watched by a little metal bird.

Evening reflections on the lake.

A burst of evening sunshine illuminates the deck and surrounding greenery.

The small rowboat made for her grand-daughter when she was younger,
and beyond a stone Buddha head on another boulder, bought on one of her travels to Asia.

Day lilies doubled, another beautiful reflection in the lake.

Evening is time for drinks by the lake, with a standing invitation to the neighbours for ‘wine o’clock’. The lo-mobile doubles as a snack-mobile, Lois at the wheel with her gin and tonic in hand and a tray of cheese and crackers in the tray.

Neighbour Scott joins us for a drink and a chat. 

It was a real treat to be there in Vermont to celebrate Lois’s 85th birthday and I was invited to join her grand-daughter Brooke and her husband Matt at a beautiful restaurant ‘Hen of the Wood’ in Montpelier on this occasion.  I had to ask about the name – if you didn’t know, Hen of the Wood or ‘Maitake’ it is a kind of mushroom which grows at the base of trees, especially oaks. The restaurant is in an old millhouse and the river outside tumbles noisily over its rocky bed.

The restaurant, with some diners outside, with the old stone foundations very visible from the garden.

Who needs a curtain when you can have hanging wine glasses framing the upper window.

A delicious starter of local cheeses, rhubarb relish, roasted nuts and strawberries.

Brooke and Matt with Lois.  Brook is soon to give birth to Lois’s first great grandchild.

Blowing out the birthday candle, and no doubt making a wish.

Still a little light in summer sky as we drove back through the country to Scrabble Hill.

The next blog will focus on the landscape around Burlington and Montpelier, the capital of the State, and on some of the beautiful old barns and houses in the region.

Stay tuned, it’ll be up tomorrow.