Taking time to smell (other people’s) roses

Wow, spring really is in bloom everywhere in the Poconos.

I’ve been trying to get out of the office a couple of minutes most days to go for a walk through South Stroudsburg. Every day I see new color on a porch or in a yard.

The other day I walked through an alley and came up a newly planted garden. Tiny azaleas were in bloom and their feet were planted into fresh soil. You could just tell it was fresh.

 Just inside the split wooden fence was a two-and-a-half foot tall pink rose bush. That too looked freshly planted. It was tall but didn’t have time to branch out the way the ones do when they’re firmly established. It was a beautiful tea rose.

I just couldn’t resist. I poked my head over the fence to smell the rose. I’ve never done this before, but have to admit the scent was heavenly.

Not all roses have that aroma, you know. The roses we get at Valentine’s Day that are grown in hothouses sure don’t.

 I did feel a bit like an intruder in that person’s yard. But I didn’t touch and I didn’t disturb.

I walked back to the office smiling, wishing I could whistle.

Since I didn’t get in trouble for smelling the roses, today I stopped and smelled a lilac bush. This branch was hanging over the street so it was fair game.

Hey this is fun.

Most noticeable are the azaleas in bloom everywhere. Reminds me of our vacation to Acadia, Maine, two years ago.

While we were there, my husband and I stopped at every garden that we could find in Acadia National Park. Our favorite was The Asticou Azalea Garden in Northeast Harbor, Maine.   





The garden is just incredible, with meandering paths, a pond, azaleas in all colors and varieties like you never see in yards in the Poconos and a Japanese style garden. It is simple beauty that invites you to sit on a bench and stimulate your senses with the colors and aroma.

Just one of the sculptures in the azalea garden

 The garden’s design creates an illusion of space, of lakes and mountains and distant horizons. A “sand garden” constructed along the eastern edge of the stream, uses rocks and raked sand to suggest islands and flowing water. The contrast of the sand garden next to the stream enhances the beauty and character of each.

The perfectly manicured sand garden


The original Asticou Azalea Garden was built in 1956 and 1957 largely as the result of the passion and vision of Charles Savage. Many revisions have taken place since that time.
Today, the garden is owned and maintained by the Mount Desert Land and Garden Preserve and a committee of volunteers.

 Visitors are asked to contribute $5. It’s a drop box so change is not available. Hard to imagine that’s all they are asking for access to this euphoric setting.

Other gardens nearby are the Asticou Terraces  and Thuya Garden. We arrived a little early in the season for these two gardens, but the timing was just perfect for the azalea garden.

 What gardens have you seen in your travels? Drop me a line at mgouger@poconorecord.com  and tell me about them.

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