Jessie Lincoln Beckwith Johnson Randolph loved her mother.
It must be so.
It must be true.
In my imagination, Jessie was a daughter who loved her mother so much … she created a garden just for her. And not just any garden. A garden with thousands of blooms. A garden with borders and pathways. A garden planned and planted by color and symmetry.Maybe Jessie wanted her mother to have a garden as majestic as her new home. Maybe she wanted to remind her mother of the years she lived in Europe. Maybe Mary Harlan Lincoln, daughter-in-law of Abraham, was a woman who had everything … except for a formal, parterre garden.Or maybe, just maybe, Jessie wanted to gift a garden that would bloom and bloom her love forever and ever.
And so far it has.A garden like this one doesn’t happen by accident and deserves an inspirational setting in which to take root. This mother-daughter garden grows at Hildene, ancestral home of Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, in Manchester, VT.It’s said Mary Harlan Lincoln could see the whole expanse of her garden blooming before her as she stood at her second floor, center bedroom window. Now known as the Hoyt formal garden, I prefer to think of it as Mrs. Lincoln’s garden. Stunning from any view, the garden is most beautiful, perhaps, from that second floor – planned as it was to resemble a cathedral stained glass window. Hildene, a beautiful 24 -room Georgian Revival style manion, is but one generation away from the single-room log cabin Abraham Lincoln was born in. Tucked into the beautiful Vermont green mountains, visitors can walk, self-guided, through most of the home with many of its original furnishings and features, including family artifacts and a historical timeline perspective of President Lincoln’s life and death.
You can read about Hildene’s history here.It’s the garden, though, which captured my heart. I’d love to take tea with Mrs. Lincoln out on the porchswing in the early warmth of mid-June. We’d swing, and sip, and marvel at mountains and the never-ending beauty of Vermont.And the sweet scent of a thousand peony blossoms would remind us both of the ever-blooming love between a mother and her child.