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A Glimpse Of The Garden

Published: July 31, 2009


    A Glimpse Of The Garden

    By Nancy Crevier

    “A Glimpse Of The Garden” is a miniseries focusing on the heart of a gardener‘s work - a special spot, an extraordinary plant, a place of respite, or a place that evokes a heartfelt memory. What is down the garden path of your friends and neighbors? What is down your garden path?

    Sandy Motyka realized early on that it was not really possible to garden right in the ground on her property.

    “In the woods, you have to create a garden bed,” she said, and that is what she has done. It is not just one garden bed, though, that she has sculpted from the woods and rocky ledges around the home she shares with husband Walter. Ms Motyka’s gardens include a peony bed, an iris bed, a day lily bed, an autumn garden, and two special places, her fern stairway and the garden she refers to as her “secret garden.”

    “The fern stairway may not look like much, yet,” said Ms Motyka, “but it has been a labor of love.” The area in which she has developed this fern haven was filled with rubble from the construction of the home when she and her husband bought the property.

    Bit by bit, they have removed the debris and rocks, replacing them with several varieties of fern that frame a stone staircase that leads from the back patio down into the woods. Native Christmas fern and maidenhair fern are intermingled with painted fern, cinnamon fern, ostrich fern and ghost fern planted beneath shade trees and viewable as guests of the Motykas relax on the patio.

    It is her “secret garden” nestled up against the backside of the house, however, that brings her the greatest amount of peace, said Ms Motyka. She can enter it either through an entrance from the driveway framed by two sculptures by the New Fairfield artist David Boyajian that host climbing clematis, or out her back door, through a gate, and down a rocky walkway. There, looking out over a bed of hydrangea, several varieties of cone flowers and Shasta daisies, Japanese iris, fern, and hosta, she can contemplate what lies ahead.

    Sculpture from all over the country, some life-sized, some small enough to sit in the palm of your hand, add grace and joy to her gardens, said Ms Motyka. All of them, like the many seating options amid the greenery, are crafted from natural materials or weathered metals that blend into the landscape.

    “I love dragonflies, so my husband bought me a dragonfly coffee cup. I fill it up, and sit out here,” said Ms Motyka, who is joined on the rustic bentwood loveseat many mornings by her standard poodle, Mandy. “I’m usually out here by 5:45 am in the summer. It’s my sanctuary where I think about my life, say my prayers, and get ready for the day.”

    It is also a time when she decides what she is going to do next in the garden. “I started it about three years ago, and my intention was to have everything white, but I can’t resist pretty things and my friends have colorful things they like to give me, so that kind of went out the window.”

    What does not work in her secret garden finds a home in another flower bed that she calls her “echo bed,” though, said Ms Motyka.

    “The hardest thing to achieve, with all of the garden beds, is getting a succession of blooming flowers from season to season, but this garden is coming around,” she said. “Just weeding and being in the garden is enough enjoyment for me. It is really a way of staying connected and gaining perspective on things.”

    That is what is down the garden path at Sandy Motyka’s.