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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