This week the Formal Garden around the Conservatory was plowed under.
It was a shock to drive by this week and see the level beds, the brown dirt combed clean and looking as flat and featureless, the glory of the gardens extinguished for another season.
Last weekend, the gardens were at their apogee, the plumed grasses glistening, the mounds of salvia blindingly bright and as high as my waist. Around the Bates Fountain, much picture-taking, visitors drawn toward its bronzy plume of water, reeds, and grass, toward the respite that Saint-Gaudens‘ handiwork reliably provides. His old sculpture, of playful storks and eternally young mer-boys cradling shining fish in their arms, is the one element in the garden that seems immune to time.
Thank goodness I happened to have my camera with me that day. For each year is different than the last, an ephemeral masterpiece that is raked away, every trace of its apogee in bloom destroyed.