Intro: Counselor Jessie Rayl uses her beautiful garden to find tranquility and relaxation. Come experience the sights, sounds, and smells in Jessie’s yard.

The Story: As we enter through the front gate, we walk up three or four steps onto a brick walkway alongside the house. Looking to the right, the first thing to be found is a rhododendron bush now covered with bright red flowers. This is the state flower of West Virginia and a perfect welcome into the garden. In front of us the sighted person sees a majestic lion fountain while the blind person is drawn to the sound of running water. As we continue to walk toward that delicious sound, on the right, we first pass a rosebush with huge yellow roses. The roses are a little larger than the palm of my hand when in full bloom and very fragrant. Next, we get to a wild profusion of tiny pink roses on another bush. The walk begins to open and to the right and left are hibiscus bushes in large pots. A few steps further and there is yet another rosebush with big red double roses when in bloom.

Here, a decision has to be made. Do we turn to the house or keep going to that enticing fountain? Having decided to find the fountain, we step up and around the dog relief area, which is now clean and fresh. To our delight we find on our far right another pink rosebush with flowers on it that are larger than on the other pink rosebush. This bush is very old and has been attacked several times over the years by weeds, windstorms, and sumac trees threatening to kill it; however, it is determined to survive and so it does.

Further beyond this and to the left is a birdbath filled daily with fresh water. If the rain doesn’t fill it, yours truly, the garden’s owner, does in hopes of trying to convince the birds the bath is preferable to the fountain. (Will it work?) Behind the fountain area is a sweet, highly fragrant lilac tree, which for the most part, is now finished blooming for this year. A magnificent eagle with a solar light that shines at night on it and planters sit to the rear of the kennel. The flowers for the planters have not yet been decided on for this season’s botanical art, but over to the left visitors to the garden enjoy another beautiful red rosebush with small fragrant flowers. Just in front of the red roses sits a windmill, about three feet tall.

And now, here is the fountain! The fountain stands about four and a half feet tall looking like a big cave wall with a lion coming out of it. The water comes into the fountain from the lion’s mouth and contentedly floating around in the water are gorgeous water lilies. In front of the fountain two ducks have made their home. To the left of this peaceful sight is a lily bed of some sort. Right now they are just green leaves, but at some point in August, a brightly colored profusion of lilies will bloom with the most heavenly scent. Lasting only about a week, the short lived blooms will die back but they are absolutely beautiful and well worth the jaunt to the fountain to experience. A statue of St. Francis stands to the left of the fountain scene where there is also a big rock with a turtle. This little guy has a solar light in him that gives off a soft glow. Zinnias will grow there this summer.

We could turn now and sit down on the swing that takes up the side of the yard. Facing in the direction of the relief area it gives one a great view of the entire yard. On our right is a stand large enough to hold drinks, a phone, a laptop, a Victor Stream, and the like. This is something I made out of a really cool shaped paver which is almost a pentagon held up by a neat looking frog. Along the retaining wall on the right are boxes of petunias and begonias of every color and an antique iron pot with pink geraniums.

When we get up to exit this wonderful relaxation spot, we walk straight to the relief area, turn right and step down over the retaining wall. The roof hangs low from the patio so if you are taller than 5′ 3″, this is good to know so that you can miss it. You’ll also notice that there is no grass. Where grass might normally be in this spot of my yard, it is covered by gravel. When I go to Florida this year I plan to send back a box of shells and coral to add to the rocks.

Stepping onto the patio we pass a butterfly bush smelling quite fragrant. Going past the door into the house, we go by the retaining wall on the right that has the petunias and a very fragrant gardenia bush on the left. We get to a table and two chairs where we can now have lunch. From the roof, we can hear the melodic sound of wind chimes. One has a dolphin and the other has tubes and a crystal ball with a solar light inside. More chimes will be added to the collection because there is plenty of space for them.

It’s getting to be evening time, but wait! Do you smell other flowers? Well, that scent is coming from around the house; there is a blooming evening jasmine bush on the front porch. There is also Hawaiian plumeria which has yet to bloom although this might possibly be the year for it. And there are impatiens in cone-shaped pots out there too. But that evening jasmine can be smelled all over the neighborhood.

Thank you for enjoying my peaceful garden place with me. Happy summer! Come back next year!

The Contact: Jessie Rayl