For a long time, I loved another garden, across the mountain in another time, another place. Our place – mine, John’s, our daughter Kim’s – The Herb of Grace, a nursery, a tea room, a shop where gardeners gathered to breathe and walk and dream and laugh.

But then,

“To everything there is a season” and it all ended with our “time to weep”.

And then,

We – John and I – sought solace at the side of a country road in a wood and made a garden once more.

Here in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee,  we became stewards of an old farm and a thirty-acre wood. And the garden? Rare,  uncommon, native and just the ordinarily beautiful – trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs – grow where tobacco once stood. We live here in a house of long lineage – 1850 – that sits on a creek (one of three) at the mouth of Owl Springs Hollow. Never once over the course of our time here has this land and its inhabitants been subjected to the arsenal of chemical control. Our choice as well at the Herb of Grace. There is a balance here, a harmony among all who dwell in this place.

Seasons turned and turned, again, until we knew the time had come to share once more.


Bobbie Cyphers, writer, gardener, teacher

John Cyphers, caretaker and saint

Member:  The American Camellia Society, Heritage Rose Foundation, American Conifer Society, American Peony Society

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