In her book The Artist's Way one of the habits Julia Cameron encourages us to cultivate is "the artist's date." What this means, essentially, is that each week we treat ourselves to time set apart to nourish the artist within by going "without," as in get out of the house and away from the usual patterns and places so that the soul can be fed by the world beyond. For me this translates as getting to a place where my soul drinks deeply from the well of creative possibility.
The Cheekwood Botanical Garden in Nashville is such a place. Perhaps my favorite photographic subject is a garden, and cheekwood has wonderful layers of texture, grooming, wildness and color to satisfy just about anyone. Or so I think! Last week I had two appointments in Nashville, with time in between that offered proximity and the perfect opportunity to head to Cheekwood for a visit.
I hadn't been there in nearly three years (astonishing, considering how much I enjoy it), and I hadn't been there in the summer since, oh, 2000? Dreadful, I need to slap my own wrist! I confess that I hurried through the garden more quickly than I would have wanted, and didn't visit all the nooks and crannies that beckon the artist, but I did manage to enjoy pausing at a few places to drink in the glory that is this particular garden and to snap a few pictures.
The trellis area, pictured first, is one of my favorite as it changes color and character through the seasons. And I absolutely delighted in the mass of rudbeckia, the black-eyed Susan that is my favorite summer bloom (how I wish we had a sunny place in our own yard free from canine tampering to plant some!). The other pictures are near the original Cheek home, now a museum. Cheekwood was the home of the Cheek family (an absolutely amazing estate that sits atop a hill), and they were kind enough to leave the estate for the purpose of creating this wonderful place for the public.
Enjoy this departure from your own world.