Around the Gardens of Taliesin

July 13th

By: Amy Bendorf Schertz

For most of my adult life, I’ve kept a daily journal.  I enjoy collecting quotes that capture my attention or inspire me to reset my intentions in life.  In early January 2020, an extract found a prominent place on the inside cover of my new journal for the year.  I am not sure where I came across it, but it remains a beacon of light, a daily mantra, and a personal mission in my life.

“We are all here to develop a life more beautiful, more concordant, more fully expressive of our own sense of pride and joy than ever before in the world.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Blooms on the Taliesin estate

I started volunteering as an Estate Gardener last summer.  I was looking for opportunities to get outside more and take a day off from my office job.  Unfortunately, the garden season was a bit delayed due to the pandemic.  So, as volunteers, we didn’t get to make our way onto the estate until June.  The weeds, however, were right on schedule despite our late arrival, and there was plenty of work to greet us.

What was also waiting to greet us was a community of like-minded people, a collection of warm-hearted staff, and a mixture of eager volunteers who often drove great distances to share their time, talents, and energy.  With all the appropriate precautions, masks, and a safe social distance, we dug in.  We dug in because we needed purpose.  We needed to feel valued.  We needed to step away from our home lockdowns and the disjointed aspects of our abnormal lives during the pandemic summer of 2020.  So around these weeds we gathered.  And this is how a community around Taliesin forms.  Naturally, organically, and passionately.  We dug in together for the benefit of the gardens and ourselves.

Planters at the Visitor Center

On our hands and knees in hot weather and on drizzly wet mornings, we tackled the ancient triangle-shaped rhubarb patch, the perennial borders on the Hill Garden, the shade plants under the pergola, the flowers of the central island bed, the ferns of the lower court, the tiny embedded weeds in the stones of the Tea Circle, the hostas and lily beds of Tan-y-Deri, and the wild landscapes surrounding the Hillside School and Theater.

As we pulled out what didn’t belong in those gardens, we not only cultivated more space for plants to grow but more space in our hearts and minds.  We developed a sense of belonging to this beautiful place, to a landscape older than us all.  And somehow, we renewed our sense of humanity and always seemed to leave the estate feeling a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  Gardening at Taliesin became a common turf for us to share our stories while sharing a common mission.

I welcome others to connect with Wright’s offering.  I invite you to join us around the gardens of Taliesin and discover for yourself a way…

Hillside School

“…to develop a life more beautiful, more concordant, more fully expressive of our own sense of pride and joy than ever before in the world.”