A Garden in Gaither (or Scenes From Sykesville)

My dad still lives in the house where my sister and I grew up. It’s in a quasi-rural part of Maryland, about an hour’s drive north of Washington D.C. and 40 minutes west of Baltimore. The house is at the top of a hill, at the end of a long driveway, in a tiny town called Gaither.

Gaither is so tiny that it doesn’t appear on maps. When I was growing up, there were three ‘public’ buildings in Gaither – Little George’s Market (a small convenience store), the Methodist church, and the post office. The post office wasn’t actually a building — it was a room in the back of Mimi Loon’s house, at the bottom of Gaither Road next to the railroad tracks. We used to walk down there every afternoon to get the mail and catch up on the town gossip with Mimi.

Eventually Mimi’s post office closed and Gaither was absorbed – at least in the eyes of the U.S. government – into the neighboring town of Sykesville. Dad has a Sykesville zip code now, and I usually tell people I’m from Sykesville because no one has heard of Gaither and I don’t want to bore them with the explanation I’ve just bored you with. But I still consider Gaither to be my home town.

Our old farmhouse in Gaither has changed a lot since I was a kid. The garden has changed a lot, too.

If you’ve seen the old pictures in my most recent post, then you know that my father is a talented photographer. He’s also a talented gardener. Each time I come home, Dad’s garden is wilder and more unique than it was before. So I thought I’d devote a blog post to it.

Here are a few shots I took of Dad’s garden in Gaither (or Sykesville, depending on how you look at it).

The house.

A bed of Black-Eyed Susans — the Maryland state flower — blooms in front of a shed on the property.

Satchmo, Dad’s venerable 20-year-old cat, grabs a drink from the fish pond.

Several large bullfrogs reside in the pond. They croak beautifully in the evenings.

The old outhouse, in the woods out back. This is where we went to the toilet when I was a child.

Gotcha! Just kidding. The outhouse was out of service long before my parents moved here in the early 1970s. But I love the fact that it’s still there.

Bees pollinate a sunflower in the front yard.

Late summer is a beautiful time in Maryland and I’m lucky to be here while the last flowers of the season are still blooming. The early summer flowers should be in full swing when I get back to Jozi. It will be 2Summers deja-vu!

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  • Reply Tarara August 31, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    beautiful house and garden .. the cat is 20 yrs old? r u kidding? and it must be grabbing a bite along with a drink from that pond. what a place to stay or even go back to once in a while.. no doubt you are having a great time. and now i know you get the photography genes frm you dad 🙂

    • Reply 2summers August 31, 2011 at 4:50 pm

      No one can remember exactly how old he is but he’s definitely between 17 and 20. He’s a tough, mostly outdoor cat, too. Amazing. Thanks for reading!

      • Reply Jackie Freeman August 31, 2011 at 6:09 pm

        Satch is the kitten your dad and I rescued from a comatose state on Calvert Street. It was just after Princess Diana died in the tunnel. That cat looks good!

        • Reply 2summers August 31, 2011 at 8:15 pm

          I know! He’s such an amazing cat. The age is definitely starting to show but he’s going strong. Weird about Diana…

      • Reply Jackie Freeman August 31, 2011 at 6:15 pm

        (As an aside, Diana died 14 years ago today)

  • Reply lisa@notesfromafrica August 31, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Looks like a wonderful place to have grown up. No wonder Satchmo looks so smug – he’s got such a beautiful garden to wander around in. Love all the photos!

    • Reply 2summers August 31, 2011 at 5:34 pm

      Thanks Lisa. It’s been great to be back home and spend some time with Satchmo and the rest of the animals.

  • Reply Slowvelder August 31, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    its like a little paradise – lovely! well done to your dad.

    • Reply Becky Hartman August 31, 2011 at 7:51 pm

      Nice shots, Heather–it looks as good in photos as it does in person.
      Hope NC is on the mend.

    • Reply 2summers August 31, 2011 at 8:14 pm

      Thanks Jackie, Dad will appreciate the compliment.

  • Reply Derek Smith August 31, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Love the little shithouse on the Priarie …or whatever. Nice photos and a nice post

    • Reply 2summers August 31, 2011 at 10:02 pm

      Haha! It’s not really a prairie, but other than that your term works very well.

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough August 31, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    What a lovely home and garden! Satchmo looks like a wonderful cat. And the frog photo made me laugh. It’s like the perfect frog–the epitome of frog–so frogably frog. Too cute, Heather.

    • Reply 2summers August 31, 2011 at 10:01 pm

      I know! I couldn’t believe my luck with that frog. They’re usually very skittish when you creep too close but this one didn’t mind me taking his picture at all.

  • Reply clouded marbles September 2, 2011 at 6:48 am

    Oh, the house and garden makes such a pretty picture. It looks very peaceful. I almost looks like you were standing on a little bridge when you took the photo.

    • Reply 2summers September 2, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      Thanks Riekie. It is a very cool, peaceful garden.

  • Reply Read this . . . | Notes from Africa September 7, 2011 at 9:19 am

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