Next to the rose garden was a huge bell on a 12-foot pole. It was to be used to bring my dad in from the orchard in an emergency since this was well before any other sort of communication was possible. Happily, it never was used for that purpose but was rung for celebrations! That bell, on a much shorter pole, now sits in the middle of the “Circle Garden” to the south of our house in Eastman and has stepping-stones so that our granddaughter Maeve can ring it.
Needless to say, vows or not, my sister and I are both obsessive gardeners. She has created gardens in Tucson, Syracuse, the Thousand Islands and Sarasota. I started my first garden in front of our student apartment at Sachem Village when I was teaching in White River Junction and Russ was a graduate student at Dartmouth. Spring bulbs and chrysanthemums were the mainstay and I was discouraged, when we returned 36 years later, to find that chrysanthemums are only annuals in zone 4. I left behind a garden in Lancaster, PA, and more extensive ones in Albion, MI. Taking an idea from Inverewe Gardens on the west coast of Scotland, we put in 8-foot posts with thick ropes draped between them in one garden. Contrasting clematis and climbing roses wound up the poles and extended across the ropes. They were gorgeous.
Between us, Madie and I have produced another generation of gardeners. Both of our daughters love to garden and have extensive gardens of their own – in NH and MI.