Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Richmond Road Trip - Part 6 - Maymont

For us, a trip to Richmond is incomplete without a stop at Maymont. The light was clear and beautiful, even if the wind was a bit keen, the morning we visited. In this shot the camera caught the light.

There were only a few things blooming - daffodils, some flowering trees (magnolias, cherries, and a few camellias), and small wild flowers. Maymont's gardens, however, are lovely in form, even if there is little blooming.

The dome in front is in the Italian garden, normally a riot of colors from annuals and perennials, stretched under a beautiful colonnade at the top of the large fountain. The dome in back is the silo on the barn. Even the outbuildings at Maymont are beautiful.

The Asian garden is one of the best parts, with wandering paths, stepping stones, small gazebos for sitting, spirit houses and lanterns, and all surrounding a pond with a lovely stand of young cyprus trees on one end.

Koi swim in the pond, some of them almost two feet long. They congregate below the lake gazebo whenever people stop there. Their quiet wavy movement, crossing each other's paths, is hypnotic. I took far too many photos, trying to get the densest and clearest congregation.

Most of the bridges are small, and made of stone or concrete. This one is the largest in the garden, and is the main attraction in the end of the Asian garden away from the pond. It crosses a stream that only runs seasonally, and with the drought it was totally dry.

The house itself is set on the top of the hill, overlooking the James River, a canal for bypassing the rapids, and the railroad which made Maymont's owners some of the richest people in Richmond. On the way up the hill were some of the daffodils blooming.

While the house is imposing, and made of stone, it doesn't seem large enough to contain the thirty three beautiful rooms inside. The landscaping and yard and is simple, but the pieces are well chosen, and the landscaping is primarily done with trees, composed in ways that make it obvious the garden architect could see fifty or more years into the future. That always gives me pleasure - the human mind reaching that way, and the idea made entire, even if years after the artist has left us.

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