While there are many great reasons to think that working at Montelena is special, the grounds have got to be close to the top of the list. Walking in the vineyard in early spring near bud-break or in the late summer when the foliage is lush and cool in the hot sun, shading the precious bunches of juicy grapes underneath, I feel connected to nature. Coming back to the Chateau I often feel as if I am stepping into a beautiful landscape painting. Looking across Jade Lake at the islands, each with their neat pagoda shaded by willows gently swaying; seeing the swans and the ducks gliding across the water and watching the peonies, columbine and grasses being ruffled in the breeze, I am reminded of a favorite childhood poem:
Over in the meadow
In the sand in the sun, lived an
Old mother turtle and her
Little turtle one.
“Dig,” said the mother,
“I dig,” said the one, and they
Dug all day in the sand in the sun.
I always feel at home here. Today (June 27) is my mother’s birthday. While she is no longer alive I cannot see a purple iris or a beautiful garden without thinking of her. She would have loved the Montelena gardens. Happy Birthday Mom!