In the Suburbs: Writer’s Group member’s home blends lush plants, talent
Our writer’s group has been meeting for several years at the Fairfield University Bookstore, but occasionally in the late spring or summer, we’ll change our meeting spot to one of our writer’s homes in Fairfield, Westport or even Colchester where one couple moved. One of my favorite places for a meeting is Ardeth’s home, which is located near Fairfield beach and is a perfect spot for a Sunday morning in late summer.
We were there this past Sunday, a gorgeous, sunny day, and the setting of this charming home, as always, was a writer’s canvas for colorful and descriptive writing. So, with apologies to my host, I have seized the moment to reflect on this very special house.
I arrived a few minutes late and as I walked from the front door through Ardeth’s charming living room I stopped briefly to absorb the beauty and warmth of the room. The walls, a bright white with the sun hitting them, made me feel like I was literally at a house, right on the beach. Her well-chosen accent paintings brought me even closer to the beach.
I remembered so many Sundays during the earlier years of our group when we met in Ardeth’s living room. Even on chillier days, there was always a warmth and coziness about this room that so reflected Ardeth’s decorating touch and accents.
As I entered the sun room, I received a warm greeting from my nine writing colleagues. Ardeth encouraged me to grab some coffee and a muffin in the kitchen a wonderful gathering spot. I remembered in the days before our meetings moved to the bookstore that our group spent many a Sunday at Ardeth’s, sipping coffee and catching up on families, work, politics (before these more colorful days), general news and maybe a touch of gossip. Once again, I took a minute to just glance around the kitchen as I poured my coffee. Always bright and cheery, this spot has always been one of my favorites.
Returning to the sun room, I sat down next to a gorgeous plant that was almost waist high - I am going to guess it might have been a Coleus, coated with delicate flowers. The plant was in a large pot and took over the entire corner where I was sitting. Clearly it was one of Ardeth’s major gardening accomplishments — there are so many. As I gazed at this beautiful plant, I thought about all the Coleus plants I attempted to nurture. Most, if they lived long enough, barely filled the pots I provided. None ever reached the size of Ardeth’s protégé.
I assume that this sun room is truly Ardeth’s special place for relaxation and escape. If my feeble memory serves me correctly, she had the room renovated several years ago and I believe it’s heated for year-round use. This special sun room, filled with plants and accent pieces is so cozy that I wanted to curl up with a good book or magazine and a nice cup of coffee. On colder mornings, one might want to add a blanket or a throw to enhance the warmth of the sunshine streaming through the windows.
Another of the reasons we love meeting at Ardeth’s is her breathtaking garden in the backyard. I don’t profess to know all of the plants and flowers that she has so carefully plotted and planted, but I have always aspired to one day have even a small garden that is as half as successful as Ardeth’s. I decided that I really should have her come over and consult about ways to turn my weed patch into even a postage stamp garden.
In one of our meetings a few years ago, Ardeth walked us through her lush backyard paradise, pointing out plants whose names I will never remember and commenting modestly that the garden has always been a work in progress. I believe it was a late spring or early summer day and the garden was in full bloom.
This past Sunday Ardeth told us that she has adjusted a lot of her planting to strategically ward off the pesky deer population. It was so sad that think that those beautiful animals could cause that much damage to a thriving garden.
As always, our writer’s group session was lively and interesting, but the settling of plants, flowers and writers blended in the wonderful sun room of Ardeth’s warm and welcoming home made a beautiful Sunday morning truly special.
Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and his “In the Suburbs” appears each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.