A rundown farmhouse, 30 acres of land and a blank slate for a man with a vision.

Linda Treworgy Faatz lives on the family homestead in Gorham, where she cultivates the legacy of her late father’s extensive gardens. Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer, File

That was 1941. As with any vision, it evolves. So did the landscape at the family homestead.

Over time my father, inspired by visits to established gardens and having a strong urge to design, began his labor of love. In the beginning his new hobby focused on edibles to feed his growing family. Each year a new thought meant a new project. A variety of small trees were planted early on to establish the bones of the garden and enhance the landscape. With every small tree planted he envisioned the next generation enjoying its maturity. Fences were built as a backdrop for favorite perennials. Stone walls were imported from the Maine countryside to follow the winding paths. Each garden room became an inspiration for new plants.

Five acres of the once-empty field evolved over 50 years into a haven for birds and wildlife and a place that united friends and community. Couples married under the arbor. Local and international garden groups visited. It became a refuge for those who needed a peaceful place to wander. The summer garden was opened each July for church services under the shade of the red maples. During the pandemic, summer services were truly a blessing for all to gather safely.

Each season created its own beauty. Time moved on and more people stopped in to visit, admire the landscape and gain knowledge from my father. Many time-worn stories were told on his favorite garden bench. He embraced every visit with joy.

At 92, his last year of life, he looked back with pleasure and pride that he was able to share his humble project with so many. That is the way with gardens. They keep on giving. The gifts of the garden are limited only by the imagination.

This legacy so lovingly established by my father continues for another generation. Great-grandchildren now play in the renovated chicken coop, climb in the 40-foot trees and play hide and seek along the garden paths. New plants to complement existing plants continue to be introduced each year .

The bones of the garden have stood the test of time. The vision is still clear and ongoing. As his daughter, I will continue to honor his vision by maintaining what he has accomplished.

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