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Inspired by yearly trips to a "secret garden" on the New Hampshire coast.

The Place That Inspired Us...

Fuller Gardens, North Hampton, NH

The vast majority of my patience for hobbies gets poured into ceramics and there is precious little left for other pursuits that require high levels of fussing, such as gardening. That's why you'll often find me hiking or paddling when not throwing or decorating pots! But I am not above mooching off the fruits of other people's gardening labors and, each year, my birthday happens to coincide with one of the gorgeous summer rose blooms at Fuller Gardens in North Hampton, NH.

Each year around my birthday, my mom and I pull ourselves away from the pool and drive out to the coast to walk among the roses. We drive out on Route 101 towards the seacoast and, once we hit the main ocean drive, we turn left onto a seaside road with ocean on our right and stately mansions on our left. Another left takes us down a hidden road lined with box hedges, where we turn into a small dirt parking lot. Behind a tiny gift shop lies a historic garden, just within earshot of the crashing waves. I'm reminded, once again, that the best adventures can be exotic and life-changing - and I'll never stop pursuing those -  but they can also lie right in your own backyard, down a quiet road you've never explored before.


Stepping into the garden toting my camera, I'm entranced every year by the details of each flower - the bent petals, the variations in color, and the shapes of the leaves. Grocery store roses come in just a few neatly-defined hues; these bushes boast shades of pink, yellow, orange, and mauve. I study them closely through my viewfinder, racking up hundreds of photos on my memory card in just a few hours. Some people worry that if they focus too much on taking photos, they'll miss the moment. Not so for me;  I've found that when I'm behind the camera, I tend to notice even more than I do without it and can stay more present in the moment, focusing on just what is inside my viewfinder and getting intimately familiar with that small scene.


I inevitably notice other visitors enjoying the flowers, too, and those tend to make for the best photos. Bumblebees, honeybees, dragonflies, beetles, and hummingbirds flock to the gardens, too. With a fast enough shutter speed, they make for very willing subjects for my photos.


After I've satisfied my internal shutterbug, I make a second round through the garden paths to put my nose to nearly every rose bush.  The clear differences between each variety's perfume makes you wonder why all rose-scented soaps and candles smell the same when there are so many variations on what a "rose" smells like.

My bucket list is long and varied. There are so many places I'd like to explore. But, each year, I make room on the list for a short drive out to Fuller Gardens to get lost amidst the roses.


More Favorite Spots for Flowers:

  • Fairchild Botanical Gardens, Coral Gables, FL

  • The Butterfly Place, Westford, MA

  • Huntington Gardens, San Marino, CA

  • Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, AZ

  • Mack's Apples Orchards for apple blossom season, Londonderry, NH (April/May)

  • Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay, ME

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