I have to admit, I just love it when winter is over and the plants start peeking up from the ground. Even though I have been here for more than 15 years now, every year it seems like I forget what I have planted, so each plant is a tiny miracle.
Having lived in numerous places over the past 60 years, I have to say that spring in Western PA is one of the most beautiful of anywhere that I have lived. Because there are many fruit trees, they all bloom. The trees that line the downtown area bloom a delicate pink. And the vineyards! The grapes have been trimmed back so they look like scarecrows from a Tim Burton movie…but as the weather warms up the most wonderful thing happens. Brilliant yellow wildflowers burst up underneath the vines along with purple grape hyacinths (no pun!) and the result is just magical! Locals tell me that the yellow flowers are wild mustard…but the combination of the bright yellow against the blue sky just makes your heart sing.
I have planted things around the Inn that have special memories for me. Two in particular. I was very close to my grandfather (PopPop we called him); and lived with him for a while when my mother was ill. Their house was surrounded with lilies of the valley, and not surprisingly, the heady scent of lilies of the valley was one of my Mom’s favorite. So I have planted quite a few in several spots around the house. So now the pips are up and there are a couple of spots where it is now almost a carpet.
One of the favorite places I lived as a child was an old farmhouse in New Hampshire. The back property line was marked with a huge hedge of lilacs. I was 7 at the time, so it was probably not as tall as I remember, but it seems like it was over 10 feet tall. And for a few short weeks in the spring it was totally filled with lilac blooms and the scent of lilacs. I would cut the flowers out and wind them around the basket of my bicycle (my mother yelled at me for wasting the beautiful flowers). So the smell of lilac brings me back to the days of riding around on my bike with the breeze blowing the smell into my eager nose.
Not only are there beautiful old lilac bushes here, but a number that I have planted myself, even some that were gifts from dear friends.
They say that the sense of smell is one of the most memory evocative of the senses! We try and create those good memories here with the smells of baking bread, and cookies and bacon.