Ladew Gardens

24 May

If you ever get to the Baltimore Area, one of the places on your to-do list should be LaDew Gardens. Harvey LaDew purchased 200 acres in Harford County and turned a decrepit farmhouse and “two lilac bushes” into an absolute show case. Although he had many wildly varied friends, he never married, and to me the place seems oddly sad. There were never any children to race and chase across the broad lawns. Before his death, he arranged for the estate to become a public area, and it is on the National Historic register.

A few weeks ago three of us from church went up for the day, early enough to catch the azaleas in bloom.  We were a “mixed bag”. Although I was raised in the country (when I wasn’t in boarding school) both Nancy and Dot are city kids. I hardly know a dandelion from a  tulip, but both of them are scared to death of the nitty-gritty of nature.   We stopped for lunch beside a koi pond, and it was obvious the fish expected a share of our meal.  I tore up bits of bread and tossed them into the water – some far out for the little fish and larger bits in closer for the larger, more aggressive ones. I reached into the water and ran my fingers along the backs of the fish, and Dot had a stroke. “You’re touching them?”

“I was just scratching behind their ears.” I think she believed me.

Later, we went on a nature walk around a large lake. There was one section where it was suggested we keep an eye out for native snakes. Both Dot and Nancy had mini-hyseterics about the mere idea of meeting a snake, so I suggested they stomp their feet. “The vibrations will keep them away.” And so, off we went, with the two of them pounding along, making as much noise an entire battalion of Storm Troopers, and me bringing up the rear, barely able to stand for laughing.

They may have became suspicious.

We did find this snake sunning himself on top of a bluebird nest. Apparently, snake baffles are every bit as effective as squirrel baffles.   I think the snake probably dropped out of a tree, but who knows – they are sneaky creatures. And not afraid of foot stomping!

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