For those of you who don't already know Carolyn Binder, she's a wellspring of inspiration for living the garden lifestyle. Using home-grown produce and freshly layed eggs from her chickens, Carolyn whips together meals, cocktails and preserves with an artist's mastery. Experiencing her cooking, home and garden for ourselves was a bit like jumping into the pages of Southern Living and House Beautiful, but her generous family made it feel just like home.
|Millet and mums|
Rather apologetically, our hostess explained that her garden was in a transitional phase as her cool season crops desperately waiting for the warm weather to finally end. We wouldn't have even noticed, because her carefully arranged raised beds and garden architecture would have provided sufficient interest all by themselves. The blooms of Mexican tarragon, mums, coneflowers and millet along the edge of the seating area provided seasonal interest even as the winter crops were just starting to fill out the raised beds.
Carolyn's husband explained how he built the massive three panel ten foot tall trellis at the corner of the guest cottage and seating area, which had such an effect as to create an implied boundary all along the garden and seating area. It was sturdy as well, and strong enough to support her huge tromboncino squashes.
After the grand tour of Cowlick Cottage, cocktail hour was enjoyed in the garden as we savored the arrival of a Florida fall wearing jackets and sitting in front of a warm fire. Drinks were served alongside a spread of prosciutto wrapped cheese and other treats, and my wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Carolyn's husband and daughter, both of whom were every bit as brilliant as Carolyn herself. As the autumn chill became more pronounced, dinner was announced and we made our way to the formal dining room for Carolyn's famous maple-soy glazed salmon with a steamy helping of pecan rice.
How does one wrap up a perfect Southern evening? With a relaxing conversation in rocking chairs on the verandah - dogs at our feet and drinks in our hands. Blankets were lovingly handed out while our talks rambled late into the night, and when we finally made the decision to rest up for the next day's farm tour, we opened the antique farmhouse door to our beautifully decorated guest room for a wonderful night's sleep. The next day would be spent visiting farms and a fair, driving through cotton fields and shopping in old Georgian towns, but all we wanted to do at that point was savor the perfect Southern day.
|Swiss chard and chickens|
|A view through the archway|