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A Garden of Dickens, the Hobbit, Shakespeare & Santa Claus

A Garden of Dickens, the Hobbit, Shakespeare & Santa Claus

Gardening

At the end of my life, I will have judged my success by how much I have been on my knees in the garden tending to my beliefs.

Eddie Foisy

That is but one of the many framed sayings interspersed throughout the gardens and workshops of Eddie Foisy.

Tacked on one wall in his workshop is a torn piece of paper that says “Question Reality".  A sign on the old blacksmith shop on his 18th century Cape Cod farm states J. Gargary, the blacksmith in one of his favorite books, Dicken’s  Great Expectations. And the sign over the outside entrance into to his workshop says, Windlewisp, Robin Hood’s refuge deep within Sherwood Forest.

The Gardens

His road to creating these gardens and this life was not an easy one. An artist, creator and academic, Eddie Foisy was born with Tourette’s syndrome, a neurobiological disorder that causes involuntary twitching. His parents called it a nervous twitch and it was never an issue at home. However, he was teased terribly outside of the home and as a result, retreated into the world of literature where he was transported from the mystical land of Narnia to the fantasies of Alice in Wonderland. Eddie began to explore the world through words – traveling through history and delving into subjects from medicine to cooking to agriculture. Tourette’s might have determined the course of Eddie’s life, but it was he who turned it into a positive and creative force.

The entrance to the woodland gardens

Creating Gardens based on Classic Literature

Gardening has always been his passion and on few acres of land in the middle of Cape Cod, he has created his own kingdom based on the world in which he was happiest as a boy. The land of fairies, Camelot, Robin Hood, Dickens and Shakespeare have come alive within the guise of country gardens filled with towering colorful hollyhocks, six-foot tall foxglove, ladies mantle, mugwort, sage and several varieties of mint. Old gnarled trees guarding serpentine paths seem to have been waiting for Eddie to define them by adding his carefully constructed castles with turrets, small stone mounds where faeries might live or a hovel for a visiting gnome amongst them. After all, he tells visiting children, there has to be someplace for Isabelle, the resident faerie to live  – as well as the Tooth Faerie, who spends most of the summer here.

Towering hollyhocks and foxglove become the ‘trees’ for the miniature castles

A ‘Hobbit’ hut built into a hill. Image by Joe Keller
A castle group in the apothecary garden
Eddie Foisy putting the finishing touches on one of his garden castles. Image by Joe Keller

The Apothecary Garden

When Eddie initially began clearing the overgrown farmland, visions from his readings of the Middle Ages when kings, chivalry and the belief in magic existed, inspired him to create a medieval apothecary garden as the base of his garden philosophy. Also known as a physic or infirmary garden, herbs and flowers are grown there for medicinal use. Mixed in the same beds are non-useful flowers and vegetables – for the monks believed that an apothecary garden should be beautiful and restorative and all flowers and things that grew were nourishment for the soul. As a matter of fact, a walk through the garden was prescribed as a cure for depression.

The entrance to the garden compound is home to the apothecary gardens

Question Reality

By word-of-mouth, friends, neighbors, school children or folks who have heard of Uncle Eddie find their way to his gardens. Over the years, hundreds have entered through the gates and are immediately awed by the neatly laid out garden paths with castle turrets peaking out. Enchantment is reflected on visitor’s faces as they begin to slow their steps to a meander in anticipation of missing details should they hurry. Tall Valerian, Russian Comfrey and Queen Anne’s lace blow in the wind like clouds over the faerie-sized stone castles. Children and adults kneel down to look through the miniature doors and lead glass windows of faerie houses in hopes of spotting Isabelle, the faerie, or perhaps they’ll find a chalice embedded in a mound of moss that could have once belonged to a knight or even King Arthur’s himself. Eddie smiles when they ask whose chalice it is, for that is when he knows his intention has been accomplished. He has made people question reality, to think and rediscover the curiosity of the child they once were simply by walking through his gardens.

A Greek God is perched on a column looking over the garden paths. Image by Joe Keller

The sign ‘J. Gargery, Blacksmith’, a character in Dicken’s , Great Expectations,  hangs in a garden shed

Hanging branches guard the entrance to the garden

The Workshop

Windlewisp was the name of Robin Hood’s refuge deep within Sherwood Forest

For years, Eddie has professionally produced castles and designed enchanting gardens. It all happens from his workshop, Windlewisp. Should you be lucky enough to go in, you’ll find the foundation, the soul of who this man is.

An old wood sleigh with antique toys spilling out of it hangs from the rafters and a pair of green elf slippers discreetly dangle from a high hook.  And finally, we have it. Eddie confesses. His wish to inspire creativity in children and adults through his fantastical gardens goes much deeper. For if he could choose to be anything in the world –  in the wildest of all dreams – he would be Santa Claus.

In the true spirit of Christmas, Eddie gives the intangible, the spirit of giving of oneself – the gift of imagination. What teachers spend years trying to instill in their students, he does when you stroll through his gardens. There are no televisions or computers here, just you, the gardens and your imagination.

Should you visit Uncle Eddie in Cape Cod this summer or any other time, be aware. You’re meeting one of the rarest of men, the king of his empire and a man who dreamt and inspires others to dream because once upon a time, he discovered the world of literature.

But, on the other hand, there are all of those toys hanging from the rafters. Do you suppose… ?

Among his many talents, Eddie also hand carves signs

Eddie collects old tools, some of which he found when creating the gardens, which are part of an old farm. Image by Joe Keller

Hanging in the rafters are one of several of his carved Santa Claus’ and old toys

Reality is for people who lack imagination

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