From My Carolina Home

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Karesansui teien

I have been planning for some time to do a series of posts inspired by Japanese influence.  I hope you’ll enjoy these posts, with interesting facts, fun projects, and even a couple of giveaways later this month.  These posts will be sprinkled around  other post subjects over the next month or so, with gardens, sewing projects, a quilt design, recipes and more, all inspired by Japanese culture.  Today we’ll go back to Cheekwood Gardens in Nashville for a visit to the lovely Japanese garden there.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Japanese gardens have some common elements, one being the art of building anticipation as you walk toward the garden.  This is achieved by creating curves in the path, or an elevation change to hide the destination and build up expectation.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Karesansui teien is the Japanese phrase for depicting a pond with sand or gravel.  A glimpse of the dry pond is seen from the path.  Building anticipation with just a partial view is called miegakure.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

The path curves again, and over a small rise in elevation, another glimpse of the garden yet to come.  The stone object on the left is placed in the tradition of catching your attention with a jinriki, a man made object, as a means to mark a place to stop and observe.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

This was the first marker that gave an overview of what was to come.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Stone lanterns called Oribe Lanterns, named for a 16th century warlord and tea ceremony master responsible for designing stone lanterns for gardens.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

In the Japanese garden, only a few man-made objects are placed, and only to draw attention to a view or a feature.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

This lantern draws attention to the entrance to the pavilion.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

The marker describes the Shõmu-en style garden, meant to be viewed from only one place.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Notice the play of light and shadow, that will change as the day advances.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

A pattern of ‘ripples’ is raked into the gravel around the stones called aranami-mon with straight line patterns in a checkerboard called ichimatsu-mon.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

It is a quiet, contemplative place.  Note the stone wall on the right outside the pavilion, meant to hide the garden from view from the pathway.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Visiting in a colder month, some of the deciduous trees had lost their leaves, and the beauty of their forms could be appreciated.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

One last look at the garden, with the stones along the edge.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Leaving the pavilion, a bamboo grove lines the pathway.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Carefully placed stepping stones define the path.  An Oribe Lantern is a stone lantern placed in the garden to mark a place to stop and observe.

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

Japanese gardens are designed to make the observer slow down, contemplate the surroundings, calm the mind.  To appreciate the beauty of simple things, see each element on its own  and as a part of the whole.  I think it is this more than anything that draws me to this style, appreciating the little things, observing the beauty all around us.  Konnichiwa! (good day!)

At home, it is the ideal time for planting seed beds now, and I got busy on that project this week too.  The red amaryllis doesn’t look like it will bloom this year, so I may repot it when the weather gets warmer.  The hyacinth bulb gave me a small flower spike, in my favorite white.  It had such a lovely fragrance.  Other than that, not much going on in my garden yet.

Do you enjoy Japanese gardens?

Cheekwood Japanese Garden at From My Carolina Home

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Cheekwood Mansion

Our visit to the Cheekwood Estate included a tour of the mansion, at least the parts open for visitors.  The 55-room mansion construction began in 1929, and took until 1932 before the family could move in.  The architecture is simply wonderful if you like details like I do.  Sadly, only 9 rooms are restored from the huge mansion, and available for view.  For some reason, I didn’t get a view of the whole front of the house, I think because we came through the gardens to get to it and I missed the overall view.  But you can see a picture of the three story mansion and read the entire history of the construction HERE.  I did get a picture of the stonework and lovely wrought iron on the left side.  Note the ornate cement work too on the decorative urn along with the curved windows and details.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

According to our guide, the family had an affinity for eagles and angels, and these can be found in a lot of the architecture and furnishings.  In many rooms, large posters of reprints of an article from a decorating magazine published in 1932 showing how it looked at that time.  The restoration is attempting to find original pieces to restore to the space, or something of the time frame that has a similar look.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The eagles are seen in the staircase ironwork.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Also in the foyer, this fireplace mantle, intricately carved with a working clock with angels on either side.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The architect was Bryant Fleming, and he put a cornerstone behind the front door with his name and the date 1929.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Much of the upper floors is devoted to offices instead of restoration.  But the tour was good, with lots of little details, and I should have taken notes, LOL!! This is the upper hallway leading to the library, with the loggia to the right.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The story on this marble urn is the family saw one in Rome at the Vatican, and had it made to match the design they saw.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Along the upper hallway, trompe l’oeil alcoves with in ‘gilded’ frames are actually wallpaper.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Here is the large, ornate mirror of fun family legend.  Apparently Mabel Cheek was a strong willed woman with a mind of her own far ahead of her time.  She purchased the mirror, and it didn’t fit in their home in the town.  So it was said that her husband joked that she needed to sell the mirror or build a bigger house, and she took him up on the bigger house.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Angels dance on the top of the exquisitely detailed mirror.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The main living parlor was huge, full of light from the windows, furnished with elaborately detailed furniture and lamps.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The fireplace had a gold eagle at the top of the detailed columns.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

This portrait is one of the family, but I cannot remember which Cheek family members these are.  I really should have taken notes, but I was enjoying the day too much.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Lovely wood work in the library.  The guide noted that there is no ladder to get to the upper shelves, and we speculated that this room too was built more for making an impression on guests than to actually get to the upper shelves.  But, it is known that the Cheeks were readers, and one of the gardens is has a literary theme.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Just look at the ornate detail in this woodwork and clock.  Marvelous craftsmanship.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Back to the loggia, this room is available for events, connected to the outdoor patio.  There was a set up going on for an event so we couldn’t go out the doors.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

A table in the long hallway to the dining area had a large eagle base.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The dining room was all done in blues to complement the fireplace.  Note the eagles on the mirror over the fireplace.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The ornate valences over the curtains were gilded.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

That is actual lapis lazuli stone on the fireplace.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Around the next corner in the butler’s pantry, was a display of glassware.  Sadly, the kitchen has long been converted to other use and the original construction is gone.  I think the kitchens in old homes are one of the most interesting rooms, but seldom are they open to view even if they are still in existence.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

They loved ornate things didn’t they!

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

A large part of the Cheek fortune came from the sale of the Maxwell House coffee brand to what was then Postum Foods for $45 million dollars in 1929 before the stock market crash.  No wonder the depression didn’t touch them.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

This view from the front of the house shows the art museum built later along with other outbuildings and the stunning view.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

This view from the left side of the house is beautiful.  There is a covered stone patio there.  The trees had not yet begun their leaf turning.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

Looking down from that same patio, the reflecting pool can be reached by the stone stairs.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

This patio is near the art museum, down the small stairs to the right side as you face the front of the mansion.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

One of the sculptures at the beginning of the Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail, we had to skip this as we were out of time.

Cheekwood Mansion at From My Carolina Home

The Cheekwood Estate is just outside of Nashville, Tenneessee.  I highly recommend the visit if you are in the area.

I think our home is ready for the long holiday weekend.  We are having our usual Thanksgiving day plan, with another dinner on Saturday night.  The turkey is defrosting, and will be put in the brine on Wednesday for baking on Thursday and leftovers all weekend.  We plan to have a spiral sliced ham for Saturday with my cheddar onion potatoes.  I think I need to share that recipe!  Oh, I have a wonderful breakfast recipe to share soon too.  Are you ready for the holidays to start?

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Take Me Away!


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Cheekwood Gardens

Last month, I accompanied DH on a trip to Nashville for a few days.  He had an open afternoon one day, so we went to visit Cheekwood Mansion and Cheekwood Botannical Gardens during the Harvest exhibition.  This is a huge estate with an American Country mansion and 55 acres of gardens built in 1929.  We only got to a small fraction of the gardens, taking the Harvest tour walk and getting to a couple of the specialty gardens, but we had to skip the Sculpture gardens because we ran out of time. Visiting in the fall, they had a wonderful array of autumn color gardens. This orange gerbera daisy attracted one of the many butterflies in the Bradford Robertson Color Garden.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

The entrance was inviting us to keep walking, with pumpkins, gourds and autumn squash lining the walkway.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Walking paths were accented with pumpkins, and full of autumn blooming flowers.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

They do a fun pumpkin house every year. The frame of the house has small hoops of metal that cradle the pumpkins without damaging them.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

It is surrounded by bales of hay to define a ‘yard’.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Inside the bales, a pumpkin patch with pumpkins available for purchase.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

In the meadow next to the bar, a ‘tree’ made of potted chrysanthemums made a beautiful autumn display.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Next to that was a tower with orange and white pumpkins, so festive for the season.  Workers were still arranging more pumpkins under the trees for an event later in the week.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Autumn color abounded in the flower gardens as well.  This area is part of the Sigourney Cheek Literary Garden.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Orange impatiens were profusely blooming near the visitor center.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

All along the walking path out from the visitor center, lanterns were placed for an upcoming evening event.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

On the other side of the visitor center, more autumn pumpkins and gourds on display.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Rows of small yellow chrysanthemums in front of tall dark elephant ears had surprise pumpkins placed here and there.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

This was the first time I ever saw a ‘black’ elephant ear, never knew they came in this color.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Monarch butterflies sporting autumn color wings were everywhere, feasting on the bounty of nectar.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

These flowers and butterflies were in the Wills Perennial Garden.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Stunning color, rows of flowers, it was gorgeous in every direction and every path.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Again, a surprise of pumpkins tucked into the floral displays.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

Coming back around after several hours of walking and seeing the mansion, we came upon the pumpkin house again.

Cheekwood Gardens at From My Carolina Home

I should mention here that the entrance fee to see the gardens, mansion, art museum and the rest of the estate was $20 per person, but when I told the gatekeeper that we were members of our local arboretum, we got in free just by showing our membership card.  Many arboretums have reciprocal agreements like this, so if you are a member of your local arboretum, be sure to ask when you go elsewhere.  I took over 100 pictures of the gardens, but will stop here.  I’ll save some of the others for another post.  Tomorrow, we’ll visit the mansion.  It is gorgeous!

Thanksgiving is coming fast, and just in case you want to try it, my post on Brining Turkey will show you how to brine and bake the most moist and succulent turkey you have ever eaten.  The meat is moist and tasty even after a day in the frig too!

Do you like to visit pumpkin patches and fall gardens?

 

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Take Me Away!