[This is a re-post of a story I wrote a couple of years ago featuring a beautiful little cottage garden I discovered while taking a shortcut through one of the oldest and prettiest neighborhoods in Jackson, Mississippi. I hope you don't mind if I share it again today.]
I was running some errands in Jackson, which is about an hour's drive from where I live in Vicksburg, and, as I said, I was taking a shortcut through a residential area of Jackson, when I happened to get a glimpse of a white picket fence in front of a house on one of the side streets. It looked so pretty, and I couldn't resist turning around and going back for a closer view.
When I turned into the side street, I couldn't believe my eyes ... for there sat the sweetest little cottage-style house, with a white picket fence and the most glorious flower garden I think I've ever seen. But, as picturesque as all that was ... what literally took my breath away were the charming little birdhouses tucked in and amongst the flowerbeds bordering the fence, both on the outside and inside. There must have been close to a hundred of them!
I pulled over and sat in my car for a minute, just taking it all in. I noticed a lady working in the yard, so I got out and walked over to her and introduced myself and asked if she would mind if I took some pictures.
I wouldn't have blamed her if she had said no, because I was babbling away about how gorgeous everything was and "gushing" over all those birdhouses. But she was very gracious and introduced herself, and said I was welcome to take pictures. After gushing and babbling some more, I went to my car and got my cameras and spent the next 15 minutes "in my glory," taking pictures and visiting with "Miss Susie."
She was as lovely and gracious as she looks in her picture, and made me feel as if I had been invited to visit her beautiful gardens. Miss Susie told me they built the picket fence about 19 years ago and called it "the playpen," because that's where their grandchildren played when they were little. She has been collecting birdhouses for about 18 years, and the majority of them were custom built by a friend. And what an amazing collection it is! It should be featured in Southern Living magazine, or in Mississippi Magazine.
Here are my photos taken from the street side of the fence. I hope you will click on the pictures to enlarge them. The birdhouses are truly works of art, and Susie's cottage flower garden is a perfect "gallery" for them (you can also see close ups of them in the slideshow at the bottom of this post).
the arbor and greets guests as they arrive.
These little turtle stepping stones lead you through the arbor to the front yard ...
This sweet little ceramic sign welcomes you as you enter the front yard. There's a lot of truth in its message, too.
Here are a few of the flowerbeds and birdhouses nestled along the inside of the fence:
And this blue gazing ball in the back of the flowerbed caught my attention, too ...
The little statue hiding in the ferns is Saint Fiacre, the Patron Saint of Gardeners (if you would like to read more about him, you can click here) ...
Everywhere I looked there were pictures to be taken, but I didn't want to impose on my hostess. She told me that her flowers and birdhouses make her happy, and I could certainly feel her sweet and gracious spirit reflected in them.
My visit with her, brief though it was, will always be a fond memory for me.
I created a slideshow featuring close up views of some of the birdhouses, and hope you enjoy "touring" them as much as I did (don't forget to turn your sound up if you'd like to hear the music).