When I plan a day trip, I try to choose the day with perfect weather. . . . you know, as if Goldilocks were planning – not too hot, not too cold. . . . just right.
Well, my trip to Gibbs Gardens did have some just right – along with a fair amount of too cool, a couple of minutes of too hot, quite a bit of breezy, some short spells of rain. Just about everything but snow, sleet, and hail.
And you know what?
All of that turned out to be just right.
I’m learning that all of my planning doesn’t really matter. That I can just enjoy what is.
My friend and I had the loveliest day exploring the gardens. The flowers and reflecting pools and sculptures and bridges were all happy with whatever the weather was.
And so were we.
We arrived just in time for a patio lunch of tasty sandwiches on local bread, and then we meandered in the sunshine to the Waterlily Gardens and Monet Bridge, which is an exact replica of the bridge in Monet’s Garden at Giverny.
You can see from the reflection on the pool that it was a little breezy. With temperatures around 60, it was a bit chilly at times, and the sunshine felt good when it peeked out. But honestly, I actually enjoyed the cool – because I know hot is on its way.
Gibbs Gardens is the perfect place for meandering. There are benches everywhere, and if you take a notion, you can sit and soak in the scene of manicured grass and perfectly shaped trees along with the sculptures or whatever other treat Mr. Gibbs has prepared for you.
After looking at the Monet Bridge from each side, my friend and I went on through the Grandchildren’s Sculpture Garden, where Mr. Gibbs’ grandchildren are busy with their favorite activities.
From the grandchildren, we chose to go to the Japanese Gardens, supposedly the largest in the nation. The weather was shifting again, fluctuating from sunny to cloudy, and the pools beautifully reflected the changes. I loved the many Japanese lanterns and sculptures and decades old bonsai. So much beauty in one place!
We looped around the Japanese Gardens as a rain shower dropped in on us. We were making our way up to see the Manor House Gardens. And just as we needed it, we came upon a covered structure with seating. We talked with two couples who chose the same rain escape, and the shower ended shortly, so we recommenced our leisurely walk up the hill to the house.
It seems unbelievable, but the Gibbs family lets visitors walk all around their house to enjoy the abundant flowers there, along with the views.
Another little rain shower came as we walked back down into the gardens, but the paths are so wooded that few drops actually got through the foliage. The rain stopped as we wandered back toward the cafe, so we decided to try a slice of the tempting desserts we’d passed up at lunch time. Why not enjoy a little more time in this beautiful setting? The lemon bar was the just right way to end a just right day.
My friend asked a couple of times, “How did I not know about this place?!” My sister is the one who told me about it first a couple of years ago when she read about the daffodils. There are huge daffodil gardens with more than 20 million daffodils that bloom from early March through mid-April. Yes, you read that right – 20 MILLION! I’ll be back some year to see that.
But this trip was too late for daffodils – and too early for hydrangeas.
But it was just right for so many other flowers. And ferns. And trees. And pools. And sculptures. And sandwiches and lemon bars. The just right excursion with a friend.
Did the unseasonal cool and little bit of rain dampen our time at Gibbs Gardens?
Nope, not at all.
It was a day of variety, from the unusual weather to our meandering path through the gardens to our routes there and back.
None of which I’d exactly planned.
But all of which turned out to be just right.