SOMETIMES IT’S THE SMALL THINGS in life that bring the most joy. And that adage can apply to gardening.
On a July trip to Madison, Wisconsin, to see family, Randy and I explored a block square residential area near our son’s apartment in the Atwood Neighborhood. This east-side area offers an appealing mix of single family homes, apartments and multi-family housing mingling with home-grown businesses. Add in the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, bike trails and Lake Monona and this part of the city presents an attractive place to live, especially for young professionals.
Typically, Randy and I would explore Madison with our son, daughter and her husband. The city has much to offer in the arts, architecture, food and beverage scene, and the thriving Dane County Farmers’ Market centered around the state capitol (except now). But, because of COVID-19, we have limited our activities to walking. The daughter also lives next to a recreational trail on the opposite side of the city. Madison seems a model for getting around by foot or on two wheels versus solely by vehicle. Plenty of green space also defines this city.
From our stroll around the block, I observed how residents value their neighborhood. That shows in well-kept homes and yards, with flowers aplenty replacing the typical lawn. I love that concept of filling one’s outdoor space with plants and flowers. It seems more environmentally friendly and artistically inviting than a manicured, chemical-laced lawn.
While taking in the nuances of the neighborhood, I discovered a sweet surprise in one yard. Mini garden art. Tiny scenes created with miniature figurines. Mostly rabbits. The unexpected find made me giddy.
Together Randy and I scanned the yard, spotting these magical scenes among spiraling prairie dropseed grass, at the base of trees, upon and next to rocks. For a few moments I immersed myself in finding and then photographing the mini garden art, all the while almost squealing with delight.
Randy alerted me that the homeowner was watching through a window. I hope he understood, while watching, just how much I appreciated his efforts that brought joy into my summer afternoon.
Sometimes that’s all it takes. A little effort. A little creativity. A little caring about your neighborhood and about others to make a difference.
Especially during a global pandemic.
© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Please check back for more posts from a more recent trip to Madison.
Loving the mini garden art! Thanks for sharing
They are fun, aren’t they. I’ll have updated photos of these gardens soon as I revisited this Madison neighborhood this past weekend. The homeowner has switched out the mini garden art.
What a cute idea! I bet the kids love it
Kids and adults, like me. The garden art has changed since I photographed this in July. New pix will be forthcoming soon as I revisited this art scene several days ago.
Oh, what a wonderful discovery! I would have squealed too!! 🙂
Randy just laughs at me sometimes and the joy I find in the simplest of things.
Fun pictures! Small world story: my friends’ husband is owner and managing partner of Ian’s Pizza. They made quit a bit of news years ago in the wake of Obamacare passage. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/papa-johns-obamacare-ians-pizza_n_2133050
Small world, indeed. I’ll check out the link shortly.
We were just saying that next time we’re in Madison, we need to try Ian’s Pizza. Caleb’s apartment building is located by the Garver Feed Mill complex, a stunning repurposed old building that includes the pizza place and other businesses. Pix of the exterior will be featured in an upcoming post. And I’ll look through my files from February again to see which interior photos I can include. I absolutely love the Atwood Neighborhood. The look. The feel. The walk-ability (or bike-ability). The care I see in yards and signage, etc.
How CUTE – love seeing the unexpected, especially the creative 🙂 The mister asks me at times what I am photographing because he is not “seeing it”. It is usually the smallest detail and it helps that I can zoom in with my camera. Made my day – Happy Day – Enjoy!!!
Oh, I can relate to that questioning of “What are you photographing?” You and I are artists. We notice, and really see, the details.
You were probably like me as a kid in being very observant. I could usually read people too from a young age (i.e. going around the truth, etc.). Hence why I thought about going into law enforcement after high school. Then switched gears into business.
Yes, I would say I’ve always been very observant, the quiet one, the listener. My husband tells me I can make anyone cry. And that’s a compliment. I listen, deeply, to people’s concerns/problems/worries and sometimes (but not always) their sharing with me causes them to cry. I consider this one of my gifts, a way I can help and serve others.
I can understand you’re squeals of delight. I would do the same. Such a wonderful neighborhood to live in.
It’s a lovely neighborhood. I’ll expand on that in upcoming posts.
How deeelightful! Thanks for sharing. ❤
You are welcome. I’ll eventually update you on the newest mini garden art in this yard.
I look forward to the update ❤