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On the date: April 04, 2014 11:55 am
     

    Cummer Gardens in Jacksonville Florida

    We visited The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Jacksonville at the end of March with friends who live in St. Augustine (about 1 hour south). We were very impressed with the accessibility of such an old property. They incorporated ramps (and provided a map of those ramps) in architecturally beautiful ways. I recommend you make a stop no matter what time of year if you are in the area.

    cummer garden 1 Cummer Gardens in Jacksonville Florida

    Cummer Gardens bronze and garden

    The gardens are small but visually exciting, so you can spend mere minutes or hours, in the gardens and in the museum. The Cummer boasts a beautiful garden located on the banks of the St. Johns River in Northeast Florida.

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    Cummer Gardens bronze and garden 2

    It is divided into rooms, each with its own name. They don’t seem like separate gardens, but an integrated whole. I found only one piece of modern sculpture in the gardens, and that one didn’t photograph well because of the windows directly behind it. Everything else in the gardens, no matter what the period seemed to flow seamlessly into each other. So I call them a single garden.

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    Bronze of Diana at Cummer Gardens

    Famous landscaping firms were involved in the gardens’ design and horticulture. But almost all of the garden is under or adjacent to giant live oak trees and it is these behemoths that set the stage for the garden.

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    A garden room entry at Cummer Gardens with the St. Johns River in view

    The gardens were created in the early 1900s. Arthur Cummer and his brother, Waldo, came from a long line of Michigan lumber barons. They built their homes on either side of their parents, Ada and Wellington Cummer, on the banks of the St. Johns River. The brothers led the Cummer Lumber Company, while their wives, Ninah Cummer and Clara Cummer, masterminded the gardens surrounding their homes. Those gardens are now one of the glories of the museum and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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    It was breezy at Cummer Gardens but DH helped me capture this rose

    Ossian Cole Simonds designed the original garden using native trees and shrubs at the time of its development by the Cummer family. The formal English Garden was designed in 1910 by Thomas Meehan and Sons with a magnificent wisteria-laden cypress arbor.

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    Another garden room at Cummer Gardens

    Ellen Biddle Shipman designed the Italian Garden in 1931 as the ultimate display garden for Ninah’s large collection of Italian marble garden ornaments and hundreds of azaleas. Two long reflecting pools frame the view to the green, ficus-covered gloriette that resembles the famous water gardens at the Villa Gamberaia in Tuscany.

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    Another garden room at Cummer Gardens 2

    Waldo and Clara Cummer engaged William Lyman Phillips, a partner in the Olmsted Brothers firm, to incorporate the elder Cummer’s property in the 1930′s (which they inherited) into their existing gardens. These gardens were partially obliterated in the early 1960s, when both homes were demolished to make way for a new museum building to house Ninah Cummer’s art collection, but plans are in place to restore this landscape to its former glory.

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    A view of Jacksonville from the Cummer Gardens

    You can imagine the number of wedding photo shoots this place must handle. We didn’t realize that the Museum and Gardens closes an hour earlier on some days than last year, so we don’t have photos of the museum collection, but I was able to pick up a large cement bunny rabbit holding a basket ready for filling with plants that we will cart back to Maryland and use in our own garden.

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    Norma asked for more magnolia photos since she fears her’s will bite the dust from more winter. Here’s her wish:

    Spring 2013 backyard 1 More Magnolia

    Saucer magnolia in our backyard

    Spring 2013 backyard 2 More Magnolia

    Saucer magnolia in our backyard 2

    Spring 2013 backyard 25 More Magnolia

    Saucer magnolia in our backyard 3

    Spring 2013 backyard 27 More Magnolia

    Saucer magnolia in our backyard 4

    Spring 2013 backyard 26 More Magnolia

    Saucer magnolia in our backyard 5

    Cancer, Infinity and Me: What Gives You Strength?

    It was 2002 and I had just been diagnosed with a particularly virulent and deadly cancer (70% chance of recurring, 50% survival). Talk about facing mortality! (You don’t get out of life alive.)

    emerald marsh 3 2 Cancer, Infinity and Me: What Gives You Strength?

    Some views of Emeralda Marsh 1

    I wrote the following:

    I believe that there are an infinite number of me’s. There are other me’s in other universes as similar and different as any we could or couldn’t imagine. That is the beauty of infinity. The universes that comfort me are those in which I still love and am loved by DH. This love and this man bring tears to my eyes in wonder and happiness. Other universes exist, an infinite number with me in them and an infinite number without me.

    It is possible that the voices that the schizophrenic hear are from these other universes that share our space. They are simply more aware of these people and of these other places. They may not be “sick”, only more aware!

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    Some views of Emeralda Marsh 3

    Is it possible (of course it is) that in other universes I really am a drop of rain or some other part of the stars or nothing at all? Do I feel or am I aware? Will I understand more when I die or will I just not exist any more? I guess since I can imagine any of these possibilities, that they are all true.

    emerald marsh 50 Cancer, Infinity and Me: What Gives You Strength?

    Some views of Emeralda Marsh 4

    This is my diary of this universe. I have tried to record my impressions and beliefs before about this place, but at other times. Now I am recording these impressions in the context of infinity. Some universes will learn from these impressions, others will not.

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    Some views of Emeralda Marsh 5

    I don’t understand the number of dimensions in which we exist. Current physical understanding states that we have three spacial dimensions and one time dimension. Other universes may have more or fewer dimensions. I read somewhere that there is some evidence that time is not actually one of the dimensions at all, but that we make sense of the universe by putting together all the elements of an experience in terms of something called time – that actually each element of what is present is actually independent of each other.

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    Some views of Emeralda Marsh 6

    Gary Zukav wrote about current understandings of physics in terms of making this possibility of infinity clearer to me (The Dancing Wu Li Masters). Then there was an article in Discovery that also added to my comfort. It is not understanding so much as comfort in these concepts. Although I do not believe that understanding the mathematics of these concepts would help or hinder my understanding or comfort.

    emerald marsh 43 Cancer, Infinity and Me: What Gives You Strength?

    Some views of Emeralda Marsh 7

    Part of the issue of comfort is my background and beliefs. I had been taught that God is infinite. If this is so, then everything S/He created could also seem infinite to us, including the universe or universes (as the case may be). If God exists in us, then this infinity of possibilities also exists. It comforts me that we have many opportunities to live, love, laugh, and leave a legacy (to borrow from Stephen Covey). We have all given birth to God incarnate and I am scared to admit all given birth to Hitler. We have all been Jesus Christ and Hitler. There but for the grace of God go I….

    emerald marsh 42 Cancer, Infinity and Me: What Gives You Strength?

    Some views of Emeralda Marsh 8

    So when God tells those of us who have experienced death and come back to tell about it that we should not commit suicide, yet have been told that the greatest gift is to give up our life for another…well, that is still confusing. I think it indicates that intent is very important, whether or not this world and collective consciousness recognizes it.

    emerald marsh 41 Cancer, Infinity and Me: What Gives You Strength?

    Some views of Emeralda Marsh 9

    Where are we going? Everywhere. Here is where infinity also helps. We can ask where we have been (everywhere) and where are we now (everywhere). What is the meaning of life? Everything.

    I don’t know how much longer in this universe I have left. I love DH and don’t want him to hurt at my leaving. But I hurt a lot and am concerned that the pain is an indication of the cancer and perhaps that it has spread. Or it could be an indication of my body fighting the cancer. I must spend time imagining my immune system killing the cancer. Lymphocytes coming out of lymph nodes like star wars ships shooting at the cancer cells like huge city spheres. Genghis Khan invading China, and finding a culture so captivating that he is conquered. I am not wasting my time by resting. I am sloughing off the bad cells and replacing them with healthy cells, even as I rest.

    emerald marsh 40 Cancer, Infinity and Me: What Gives You Strength?

    Some views of Emeralda Marsh 10

    Wait and See. Not planning and doing.  And it is 12 years later and I’m still “here.” Where are you? What is important to you about you?

    emerald marsh 31 Cancer, Infinity and Me: What Gives You Strength?

    Emeralda 15

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