Be Our Guest: A Year in the Garden at Sugar Maple Hill

In Guest, Inspiration, Nature
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It is such a pleasure to welcome this month’s Be Our Guest blogger Grace VanAkin. Grace is an artist and blogger who loves spending time with family and friends and taking long walks with her Yorkie, Popeye.  A relative newcomer to the art of photography, she relishes the learning process and considers herself a perpetual student, eager to develop and grow her skills.  You can find her on her blog, {whimsy&joy} ( and on Instagram @gracevanakin.

Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to see it.~Rumi

It was in the autumn that I decided to begin a photojournal of the small gardens surrounding our home, for home is where my heart resides.  An introvert by nature, I spend much of my time here, dreaming, creating, comfortable with my quiet days.

But the winters are long here in New England and by March I am outdoors, eagerly hunting for signs of spring.

The forsythias appear first, their bold golden buds brightening the hillside next to our barn.  Next, the bleeding hearts, nestled against a nook of the house and in the small garden out back.

By May (so welcome after the long dreary days of April, the cruelest month) the weeping cherry trees are bursting with pink and white blossoms, providing a handy perch and camouflage for the bluebirds whom take up residence in their newly-cleaned abode.

The forget-me-nots greet me with their delicate blue flowers and reminding me of those that I love who have passed on from our world.  Grandparents, father, brother, all remain cherished in my heart and remembered in the garden.

And since all this loveliness cannot be Heaven, I know in my heart it is June. ~Abba Woolson

And finally, it is June, bringing buttery yellow daisies and the climbing hydrangea draping itself over the stone silo.  My garden is not large – I do not possess a green thumb – but the flowers that reside here at Sugar Maple Hill bring me great joy and peace of mind.  My garden reminds me that life is made up of beginnings and endings, periods of growth and dormancy, hellos and goodbyes.  It nudges me to remember that life is to be cherished and nurtured, always.

Do you want to Be Our Guest?  Leave us a comment below with a link to your blog, Instagram account, or other place you post your images.  You can also add a hashtag to your IG images: #viewfindersio_beourguest.

See you soon.

xo lucy


  1. Lucy, I cannot properly express the joy I experienced, seeing my post on your beautiful site. My thanks to all the Viewfinders for inviting me to be your guest. xx

  2. What a gorgeous garden. Thank you for sharing, Grace!

  3. Grace, this is so lovely! It’s so nice to have you here. Your garden is beautiful but even more so is the depth of meaning you’re able to find within it.

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