Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Paine Garden

Burt has been hunkered down with some summer reading on the early lumber industry in our area, specifically those on tragic events! It turns out our sleepy little town has something of a turbulent past. It is a familiar story, disgruntled workers wanting decent wages, greedy owners only concerned with profits. History always does seem to repeat itself. As is usually the case, things did work out for everyone and long before someone decided to make children's clothing, but that's another story!       

It's a twenty minute walk from my home to The Paine Art Center and Gardens, a Tudor-Revival style mansion set amid trees and flowers on three acres of a former cattle pasture. It was the brain-child of the local lumber baron's son, Nathan Paine and his heiress wife, Jesse. She came from Neenah, the next town up the river and was the daughter of the co-founder of Kimberly-Clark, the makers of Kleenex. Apparently their plan was to build an estate, collect art and antiques from around the world to furnish it and then open it as an arts and cultural center for the city. Construction began in 1927 but stopped in 1932 due to the depression and threats from the laid off Paine Lumber Company employees to blow the mansion up if they ever dared to move in! Eventually, by 1948 tempers had cooled down and it was opened to the public. Jesse Paine served as president of the museum until her death in 1973 at the age of 100. Try not to think about all this the next time you blow your nose!

In spite of it's controversial beginnings it's a beautiful place and we are lucky it's close enough to visit easily. The gardens are always packed with great ideas that anyone can manage on their own. It is hard not to feel a little bit sorry about the Paines never getting a chance to live in their dream house.

I doubt if the current exhibit is exactly what Mr. & Mrs. Paine had in mind for their art gallery. Of course the costumes are fantastic and it was all very entertaining. Unfortunately there was no photography allowed inside but there are a few photos of the exhibit here on their web site.

Meanwhile, back in the gardens here's a pretty mix of grasses and annuals along the path.
My bank sponsors this part of the garden but I try not to hold that against it.

Here's something new! Doesn't it look like it just escaped from a Dr. Seuss garden?
Love it! Anyone know what these tall fuzzy plants are?

On this hot sunny day we took the cool, shady path that leads to the Rose Garden.

If we had walked across the lawn to the Rose Garden instead of following the path through the trees we would've been greeted by the rather French looking shepherd and shepherdess at the entrance. 

Most of the roses are done blooming for now however there were a few scattered here and there.

There's always annual flowers in urns or mixed in with the rose bushes to keep things colorful.

 Lots of busy bees, too!

The centerpiece of the reflecting pool usually gets a different treatment every year. 
I like the weeping tree in the urn and may have to find a place for one in my garden.

The flagstone walk connected the house to a replica of one of the gardens at Hampton Court. It was removed temporarily in order to build a new conservatory and hopefully will be replaced soon. 

Not bad for a cow pasture, wouldn't some sheep look cute grazing on the lawn?
You would have to watch where you step though.

As for Burt, he at stayed at home eagerly devouring more local scandals
and checking out the exhibit brochures with some tea and cake  . . .

 . . . keeping his pinkie up, just in case he runs into Lady Violet!

What are the historical scandals in your town?

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Thanks for dropping by!


  1. Gosh...the list would be endless here in Sheffield (and I come from a lOOOOOng line of coal miners lol) That mansion does look beautiful, so glad they didn't blow it up!
    Burt certainly looks as if he would be at home in a closet there lol XXX

    1. Wow, coal miners! I can't even imagine how many stories they would have, just surviving their jobs would quite a tale! As for Sheffield, there must be volumes be after a couple thousand years and some pretty juicy stories indeed!

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