This is not my garden. But it could be. I know it like the back of my hand. I have pushed strollers here, watched my kids run through its fountains, come here to read books in the English garden, and feed the fish in the Japanese garden. It is an old friend.
It is a botanical garden given to our city by a naturalist, Mr. Henry Shaw, long ago. It was his own estate to begin with, and has been expanded and carefully, lovingly cared for over the years. It is just a treasure of a place. It is filled with peace and purpose.
There are elderly volunteers with hoes and mulch watching over every rose bush, pond, and fountain.
I come here when I begin to droop in spirit and think nobody seems to care about striving for excellence anymore. When the world seems full of shoddiness somehow. And I always find, along with me, strolling the walks, others who seem to walk more slowly and start to notice the beauty. They lean in close to flowers, they listen to fountain splashing with eyes closed. It is always quiet, with an occasional school group that skips by in their matching neon shirts on the way to the hedge row maze.
I can almost hear a collective sigh of contentment as we all breathe together, unwind, feel the peace. Yes, it is a treasure.