The little green-turfed terrace is encircled with flowers that thrive in this warm nook, where the morning sun shines hotly, and where its southwestern rays are tempered by the shade of great forest-trees. So steep is the hill that the shining waters of the ocean are seen through the topmost branches of tall Oaks and Hornbeams and Pines, while others stand far below. The brown seedy spike of a Dock-plant hangs out against the lichened crag, and forms a spot of rich color amid the prevailing gray, while all about, from crevices in the rocks, and from shady recesses beneath them, spring Ferns and Grasses, with wild flowers and picturesque weeds. Some young Sassafras-trees, or rather bushes, near by, which have sprung up of their own accord, have a particularly pleasing effect with their yellow-green leaves, and down the face of the rock straggles a Black berry-vine, as perfect in outline and graceful in sweep as if it had been drawn by the hand of a Japanese artist, each cluster of finely serrated leaves having a distinct value against the mottled stony background, which also gives a fine relief to the groups of flowers and ferns that cluster at the base of the pool.
In such a situation nothing showy should find place, but only those things which might naturally grow around a forest-spring. The little Cresses along the brook, the tender Forget-me-nots, the fine small Grasses, the water-weeds and ruby Lobelia, that have been wisely set here to enjoy the moisture, add to the wildwood charm of the pool with its tinkling water.
Taste has gone hand in hand with nature and produced a lovely picture, delicate in detail, fine in color and grouping, harmonious in general composition. Minute the space is, almost, as a Japanese garden, but the effect is dignified and poetic. It is not mere prettiness that charms, but the true artistic feeling with which the idea has been conceived and executed.
The little scene touches and captivates, while gratifying all the senses with sound and sight and color, and soft touch of ocean breezes and of waving leaves.
Another feature of the picture is a second semicircular terrace below, with Clematis-clad wall, to which one clambers by another flight of steps hewn in the rock to find more flowers, and more lovely weeds and grasses, and a second space of well mown turf, with a fine outlook on the tossing sea. From this a rugged path leads by devious ways to the beach below, where are boats and a yacht riding at anchor, and the wide stretch of the great deep, with white sails upon the surface and whiter clouds overhead. These terraces form a bit of artistic naturalness that would enchant even a critic from the Flowery Kingdom, and they were the result of a charming woman's skillful planning, and fine sense of the picturesque.
But, returning to our own water garden, we find higher up the bank the Hawk-weed showing its yellow stars waving on slender stems, and the Prunella displaying its stiff blue clusters, while more Asters blossom, and tufts of Goldenrod cling to the hillside, and entice us to a climb among the Pines.
Here we find that the dry summer has made havoc Of thirty-five planted in April we shall barely save a dozen. This is discouraging, but we have gone bravely to work to set some more, and try whether August skies will be more propitious in the way of rain. We have also put in a few Savins, though we hear they take unkindly to transplanting.