“For we constantly deal with practical problems, with moulders, contractors, derricks, stonemen, trucks, rubbish, plasterers and what-not-else, all the while trying to soar into the blue.”— Augustus Saint-Gaudens
I recently re-visited Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service, in Cornish, NH, just on the border with Windsor, Vermont.
It’s not a garden per se, though there is a small formal garden on the grounds, and a birch allée, some fountains, other plantings.
Saint-Gaudens is the home, studios, and land of American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, whose Standing Lincoln monument and Shaw Memorial are among his most famous. More than 100 of art works — many of them large sculptures — fill the galleries and grounds. (I didn’t take many art photos.)
On summer Sunday afternoons, there are concerts to which people bring picnic snacks, wine, books to read, crossword puzzles to complete, knitting to work on as they get comfortable in the 75-seat Little Studio or in its grape-vine-covered portico, in the nearby gardens, and on the expansive lawns.
It’s quite a lovely experience, particularly this past weekend, when a young string trio called Trio Arrivadolce played Germaine Tailleferre, Mendelssohn, Ravel, and Dvořák. Violinist Alexi Kenney, cellist SuJin Lee, and guest pianist Larry Wang were quite astonishing, earning — one of the volunteers told me — a very rare standing ovation from the crowd. Wang, in particular, excelled in his piano solo of Ravel’s La Valse, usually rendered by a full orchestra.
I went hoping to see more butterflies than I have seen so far this summer in our area, but I didn’t see any at Saint-Gaudens on this day. There were many bees (many types and many in numbers, as there are in my garden), a few dragonflies, some frogs, and even a cicada, which I hadn’t realised inhabited NH since we don’t hear the persistent loud buzz one hears in the Mid-Atlantic states in summer.
A walk down and back up the fairly steep but short ravine trail ends at the Temple, which holds Saint-Gaudens’ ashes.
I enjoyed strolling the gardens listening to the strings playing on a warm summer’s day. The monkshood in particular caught my attention today.
Visit if you get a chance, especially on a summer Sunday afternoon.