Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Miniature Landscape

Anastasia is sitting in the garden contemplating the devastation.  Ana lives in a miniature Williamsburg house created by Rosalind Womack, my sister.     I am landscaping the house and finishing a few tiny details in the house that Rosalind was unable to complete before she died.

Anastasia has no idea that her life is imaginary...

Everything has been cleared except the hedges and tomorrow, the town mason will arrive to lay the slate paving stones Ana has ordered from the Buckingham Slate quarryJames had tried to talk her into using bricks which were made right in Williamsburg.  The brick would have been purchased at a much smaller cost, but Ana was adamant.  Their friend, Thomas Jefferson had, surprisingly, been enthusiastic about her design ideas and with Thomas' support James had given into her wishes.

She had planted hedges in 1772 shortly after marrying James and arriving in Williamsburg. The hedges served to screen the privy and they had grown beyond all expectations.  Much to her dismay, they had been used by the militia, as a target for musket practice.  James had gathered and trained the militia when the war with England started.  The holes blown in the hedges by the men who could actually aim were beginning to fill in. 

At long last, the war is over, James is home safe, the United States is free of British rule, and Anastasia is ready to begin work on her formal garden.  For the past seven years, she has drawn and re-worked the plans. Several letters from General Lafayette have confirmed that her garden will be a modest version of the great gardens of France.  He has sent her copies of several designs from a book in his library written by Andre Le Notre. 

During the war, with many of the field hands joining the British army in order to obtain their freedom, Ana had been too shorthanded to find the time or to spare field hands to begin this project.  After the war, several of the men had returned to work for wages.  Not a patient woman, she has been irritated by the view in front of her house every time she walked out the door. 

 Now things are beginning to look a little more like the vision in her head.

The ground has been cleared and leveled and the structure of the garden is beginning to take shape when Ana realizes she would really like to have a reflecting pool to catch the color of the sky.  Never indecisive, she calls a halt to the construction to see if she can fit something into the design.  Sure enough, if she cuts the corners from the four flower beds and moves them slightly further apart, there would still be room to walk around a small pool and  fountain. The  herb garden planned for the center will move to another part of the garden.

Anastasia loves the way the paving stones look for the walkways, but doesn't care for the pink flowers and has them ripped out.
 Yes, that is better. 

The stone mason is balking at having to remove the picket fencing and replace it with stone, but Ana blithely adds 20 gold dollars to his fee and he decides he might be able to find the time after all. 
The slaves are hauling buckets of sand from the river to pack between the paving stones. 
 Ana decides the men deserve some of her famous lemon and orange punch and goes to find Lydia to see if she has time to pick the oranges.  Ana has been growing them in large urns so they might be brought into the house in the winter.

For more stories about Anastasia Stewart Ogden click on the tab at the top of this blog labeled "My Sister's Williamsburg Dollhouse."

1 comment:

  1. The gardens look exquisite...but should I be worried about you?


I love hearing from you. Please let me know you visited.