Last Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day, would have been my grandmother’s 104th birthday. In Momay’s honor, I took her youngest great-grandchild to a place she had taken me as a child, a place I had not seen in over forty years.Chandor Gardens is a beautiful, wonderous place, found in Weatherford, Texas. Even if you are not interested in gardening, I think everyone can appreciate the beauty and inventiveness of Chandor Gardens. Truly, there is something interesting and creative at every turn.
Pictured here is a page from the Walking Tour brochure, which shares a brief history of the gardens, created by artist, Douglas Chandor. The brochure also includes a map, and numerous points of interest within the gardens.
This lovely rusty gate is not the actual entry into the garden, but nevertheless, it is where my son and I began our journey. Who can resist walking through a half-open…not half-closed…gate? It is an intriguing element, and appropriately, has a great creeeak!
This is the Chi-Ling Fountain. Not only does this wonderful ancient-looking water feature include statuary from New York, but also “Coke and 7-Up bottles, colored marbles” and ceramic tiles created by Chandor. A fabulous example of re-use and recycling.
I adore this view through the Moon Gate. It stretches toward the Chi-Ling Fountain, up the steps, past the Ming lions….and, beyond. The melding of formal English garden and oriental-inspired simplicity is so interesting and incredibly beautiful. By the way, the Moon Gate is another instance where Chandor incorporated recycled materials, including roof tiles, split sewer pipe and ceramic figurines. And, when we turn to our right, we see…
…*gasp*…this gorgeous pergola with breathtaking Japanese maples. And, a path and staircase leading…where? I don’t know about you, but I just HAVE to go find out!At the top of the staircase is Mount Cox, created by tons of rock and boulders from surrounding ranches. Although the “mountain” was finished in 1952, Chandor died the next year, and therefore, never completed the full project of adding a cascading waterfall. That crowning glory was completed in the 1990’s, during the restoration of the gardens. I could happily stay here for the rest of the day. But, there are other paths to explore and all of them have views like this:Yes, Virginia, heaven is a real place.
And, it has crazy-beautiful koi, and a Crazy Cat-fish named Java. Not only did he pose for a photo, but allowed me to pet him, too. Unfortunately, I think he was expecting compensation (food) for his time and good behavior, and I had only Altoids. Sorry, Java!
Throughout the gardens, there is a myriad of paths.
Paths that meander, rise and fall, curve and seemingly, lead in circles.Then, there are the paths that lead straight to the heart of hearts. My youngest son, Eula Mae’s (Momay) youngest great-grandson, walked the Chandor Gardens paths with me, the same paths I walked with his great-grandmother. I find that connection satisfying and significant.My grandmother never met this child of mine, this ginger-haired, Irish/German/Hispanic with the height of an NBA star and the heart of a poet. She would be impressed with his wit, intelligence and talent, and much like his mother, equally perplexed, entertained and aggravated by some of his shenanigans. And, she would have loved him more than Coca-Cola on ice, and, let me tell you, that’s a bunch!
At the end of the day, at the end of the garden path, which, not surprisingly, comes full circle, my grandmother’s birthday was a lush, green day full of life, beauty, happy memories, and elevated spirits. Much like Eula Mae herself.