Mandy Ramsey - My Happiest Place

Author: Mandy Ramsey
Theme: My Happiest Place

The apricot begonias glowing on my front step would never have been planted had it not been for a very special woman, Charlotte Jewell. She was the queen of begonias. Actually, to me, she was the empress of flowers.

Charlotte was not only my friend; she was one of my teachers.

Her knowledge of plants was expansive and her enthusiasm for all things floral, inspirational. She shared her joy of plants, the scientific names flowing effortlessly off her tongue as if Latin were her second language. On many occasions I would follow her around her beautiful gardens with my notebook in hand, taking notes wildly as she named plant after plant.  Her enthusiasm and wisdom motivated me to learn. Her extensive variety of plants at Jewell Gardens made me want to go out and plant these beauties in my garden. I did. Begonias, Arctic Willows, Anise Hyssop and Weeping Larch are just a few of the plants that entered my garden all because of Charlotte. Her passion spread like wildflower seeds. 

She was kind and generous with her time and knowledge. She welcomed our Haines garden group for our private annual tour. We were sisters of the plants from opposite shores.

I ‘ve always admired Charlotte’s canvas, the jewel of Skagway, Jewell Gardens.

This is my Skagway happy place. It is like a pilgrimage for me, to stroll though the gardens, past the tall purple delphinium reaching towards the sky. Poppies sway in the wind. Begonias light up the shady canopy under the trees. Hand-blown glass sculptures delight and surprise those lucky enough to stroll through the garden. A train circles through the landscape of shrubs and bright flowers. There are nooks to just sit and take it all in. One can find benches for solitude and gazebos to gather. Jewell Gardens is a place of beauty. A place of learning. A place to connect. 

To top it off, there is Poppies, the restaurant at Jewell Gardens. I always feel so special when I get to dine there. The atmosphere is light and airy. I feel fancy just sitting sipping a mimosa and looking out at the lovely landscape. Many laughs have been shared with friends and family gazing out through those windows. The most memorable were times with Charlotte in the elegant atmosphere she created. I am so appreciative to have known such a bright, shining, strong woman. I am equally grateful she created a happy place for all of us to enjoy, learn, and be inspired.

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