Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I don't remember who told me about Ruth and Dennis Mitchell's garden in central Georgia, but I owe a debt of gratitude to that contact. One May day in the late 80's, I drove up to an incredible sight. Dazzling flowers were everywhere. The expansive gardens surrounded a house that had been in Ruth's family since the mid-19th century. Ruth had met Dennis in Australia, and the couple was having a ball living out a dream of planting acres of flowers in this rural area of Lamar County.
I wrote an article for the newspaper, and two years later I took a movie camera with me when all the poppies and peonies and roses (and sweet williams and bachelor's buttons and on and on) were in bloom. I showed the video to some friends, and A Gardener's Diary was born. This was where we taped the pilot that led to the 11 year series on Home & Garden Television.
The above photo was taken on the day we shot the pilot (obviously a slide, well before the digital age). I don't think I've ever seen as many colorful flowers since. Dennis passed away several years ago, but I'll never forget his wonderful voice (he was actually born in England, but moved to Australia). Together they created something so special and had a blast doing it. They certainly sent my life in a new direction, and I will forever be grateful for having seen this enchanted place.