Our former intern, Mary Carpenter, brightened our office and put a smile on our faces this summer, and we were thrilled to discover Mary’s family was equally delightful. Sally Carpenter, Mary’s mother and “flower” cheerleader extraordinaire, recently travelled to Ireland and made a point to seek out the gardens featured in our Spring 2010 issue. Below, Mary tells us about her mother’s experience visiting Helen Dillon’s beautiful gardens.
Being a flight attendant for over 30 years, my mom, Sally, has made a habit of seeing the typical tourist attractions in every city she lands in. So when the spring issue of flower made its debut, she planned her flying schedule accordingly so that she could visit Helen Dillon’s garden.
An avid gardener, my mom eagerly anticipated the flowers she would see in Dublin and the ideas she might bring back to the States. Only a short walk from her hotel, Mom rang the doorbell to Helen’s house and was greeted by her husband, Val, who showed her nothing short of what we might call “Southern hospitality.” They became instant friends and he showed her what he said was the best view of the garden, worthy of a picture from their drawing room. Then, Val led my mother outside to take her on a tour of the garden. She glimpsed over to see Helen Dillon in gardening apparel giving private tours. At one point, Mom went over to her, whisked out her copy of flower and told Helen how she ended up in Dublin.
As Mom’s tour ended and she started to walk home, Val insisted on giving his new friend a ride back, explaining that their dog, Daisy, was at the vet, and it was on the way to the hotel. Mom agreed and found herself sitting in the front seat conversing about the differences between driving in Dublin and America.
After a whirlwind experience of reveling in Helen’s garden, making two unexpected friends, and even meeting the family dog, Mom came back to Atlanta completely inspired and with a slight Irish accent.
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