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Dancing is not just a hobby, it's a lifestyle! I use this blog to post about my news and travel in the dance world.















Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Friendship Gardens

A Walk through the Friendship Gardens


My Recent trip home was a nice break from dancing, which offered me time for reflection:
Recently I had to take an unexpected trip home to Rhode Island. It was an sudden break from dancing, which came at a most inconvenient time. In light of delaing with the unexpected emergency, I found the some time at home for relaxation. Even the darkest cloud has it's silver lining. I had a restfull trip at home with family and friends, and even found time to visit one of my favorite places, the Friendship Gardens.



The Friendship Gardens were originally constructed as part of the Works Progress Adminstration during the 1930's under President Franklin Roosevelt. The gardens were designated on land in Slater Park, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The gardens were designed as a Shakespearean Garden, containg every variety of flower mentioned in Shakespeare's works. A marvel of it's time, the gardens were unique by design, and attracted visitors from around the world. It was an unusal place in it's day, and located in the most unlikely of places, sticking out like a diamond in the rough of an old mill town.



The garden's designer was Lawrence Corente. He envisioned a garden with moats and flowering water. Birtch Tree bridges connected a series of small islands, each unique with plantings and water fountains.

Time has past since the gardens heyday, and years of neglect have taken their toll on this once beutiful destination, but it's still a fun place to walk through during my time at home, and on this recent trip it was a nice quiet place for reflection. It was fun to walk through the crumbled ruins of what was once the most beutiful spot in New England. Long gone are the flowers and plantings of yesteryear, but the cobblestone walls and remains of the water fountains are still in clear view. Here's a look at how the gardens appear today. The gardens appear today as a sort of haunted labyrinth. A walk through the gardens today will lead you through  an intricate combination of weeded paths and muddy passages in which it is difficult to find one's way out. It's still fun though, a perfect place to ponder life's challenges, and the passage of time.










 

Update in June 2014

I recently discovered a 1936 newspaper clipping, which listed many ( If not all ) of the plants that were mentioned in Shakespeare's works.

They are:
Anemone
Balsam
Bluebell
Box
Broom-flower
Camomile
Carnation
Clover
Columbine
Cowslip
Crocus
Crow-flower
Crown-imperial
Cuckoo flower
Daffodil
Daisy
Diana's buds
Fennel
Fern
Flower-de Luce 
Gillflower
Gorse
Harebell
Holly
Honeysuckle
Hyssop
Ivy
Laurel
(True laurel was not know in Shakespeare's time)
Lady-smocks
Lark's heels
Lark's spur
Lavender
Lily
Long purples
Mallow
Mandrake
Marigold
Majorum
Mint
Mistletoe
Monkshood
Myrtle 
Pxlip
Pansy
Pomegranate
Poppy
Primrose
Rose
Rosemary
Rue
Samphire
Savory 
Sweet hym
Sweet marjoram
Spear grass
Thyme
Violet

This newspaper article was pieced together and is not complete:
The article is probably from the 1936 Pawtucket times, and is undated 





Update, in July 2014, I was fortunate enough to tour the Shakespeare Gardens in Central Park, NYC. It had a more natural format, compared to the manicured islands of the Friendship Gardens.









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