Melanie Kline’s enchanted garden in Montrose CO. (Kathryn R. Burke)
[July 2019 | San Juan Silver Stage] By Kathryn R. Burke
SUMMERTIME. YOU LOOK FORWARD TO IT with great expectation. After a cold, snowy winter (especially like this last one), you can’t wait to get outside and relax in sunshine and warm weather. But do you?
Maybe. More likely, maybe not. Wintertime’s wistful visions of summer relaxation fade in the reality of summertime activity: so much to do—places to go, people to see or people to come see you. Visitors, family, kids, their kids, grandparents, and grandkids. Vacations to plan, execute, and recover from. Summertime. It’s so busy!
Whoah! Summer is supposed to be a time to relax. To find some time in quiet spaces and special places that offer peace and tranquility. Where you can just sit and listen to the quiet and smell the air.
How—where—do you do that? These two busy women found the answer rests in their gardens. Melanie Kline of Montrose and Nina Rea of Ridgway know that stepping away from the constant demands of work and responsibility into a bower of blissful blooms and cool, green shade restores sanity and serenity. “I spend all the time I can out here,” said Nina. Melanie echoed the sentiment. “It’s just amazing!” she said with a deep breath and a smile.
Shade and sun and plenty of tranquil places to enjoy both. In Melanie’ Kline’s Garden, Montrose CO. (Kathryn R. Burke)
For Melanie, the journey began a little over six years ago. She visited an estate sale of a home that had been owned by Fred and Lorraine Maxted. Well-known in Montrose for their beautiful gardens, they were also world travelers whose exquisite collection of iris was shared annually on Memorial Day complete with a home tour and chamber music. At one time they employed three gardeners to maintain the property. By the time Melanie saw it, the garden was sad: overgrown and less well-tended. “Even so, I fell in love immediately. I just sat down in that garden and told Craig (her husband), ‘We’re going to buy this house’!”
Since then, Melanie has thinned some of the trees, lifted the canopy to allow in more light, and planted many of her favorite perennials to augment the Maxteds’ original plantings. “I can’t say I’m restoring the garden,” she said, “so much as bringing it back to life.” Or maybe, with the enhancements she’s made so far, “giving it new life.”
The garden, with its varied plantings and special seating spots for different seasons or times of the day, is a work in progress. Melanie has added more bright color—roses, poppies, and peonies (both just past bloom now), a whole range of blues—delphinium, wisteria, clematis, and lavender; and pretty trees, including flowering almond and Japanese maple. Curving pathways, some lined with hostas, lead to different areas of shade and sun, with cozy seating and plenty of places to just ‘be’. And, of course, there are bunches of bright-blooming geraniums. A visit to this garden is an exercise in relaxation. It takes a minute to unwind after you walk through the entry arbor into her cool, shady bower. But then, find your spot (there are many to choose from) and just sit … just ‘be’ … and enjoy the quiet and soft scents of this enchanted garden.
Montrose Botanical Gardens
Best of all, you don’t have to plant and maintain your own garden. We are fortunate enough to also have public gardens, like the Botanical Garden in Montrose, where you can also sit and enjoy the silence and breathe in lovely, soft, summer breezes. Montrose Botanical Gardens, open dawn to dusk and free to all who visit, is located across from the Montrose Pavilion and Community Center, close to several senior housing and assisted living facilities and an easy walk from neighboring English Gardens and Altrusa Park. More information: https://www.montrosegardens.org/
But now, it’s high summer, and the gardens are in full bloom, filled with expectations of enchantment.