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Laurel Wood is a lovely public garden in Wayne, New Jersey about a mile from my friend, Ginnie’s, house. She and her husband often walk the 33 acre garden to enjoy its beauty and quiet. We decided to have a girls day outing and visited the garden before lunch. The Japanese kousa dogwood is madly blooming. Huge trees with branches that look like umbrellas of creamy blossoms were strategically planted all over the woods.

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The trail is paved and has many interesting features, arches, little coves with resting spots, beautiful benches, a gazebo, running water, fountains, a small lake, and many botanical specimens imported here by the original owners of the garden.

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The sight garden, which is replanted frequently for its blooms and beauty is part of a foursome. Sight, smell, taste and touch.

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You may recognize the foxtail fern, fuzzy leaves, spiky plants and how different they can feel. It makes it a nice place for a blind person to visit.

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Edible flowers, nasturtiums, mints, sages etc. all fun.

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The garden designers made a point of contrasting colors and textures. The hostas here grow to gigantic size with a wide variety of types, as well.

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Again, that mix of textures, hard and soft leaves, gravel, wood, shade  and density.

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It had rained hard the day before and Japanese iris were still carrying drops of rain.

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Ginnie and I both liked the peonies. Almost done blooming Ginnie found one large pink blossom bent over with the recent rains.

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The single petal peonies were still going strong, lush and pastel. One round ball not yet open. I miss my blooms at home so a public garden is a real treat.

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We lunched at Opas Greek restaurant nearby. Ginnie is Greek and she knows what dishes to order. We started with the pellini, an assortment of dips eaten with crisp pieces of pita bread. Upper left is taramosolata, which is made with fish roe and is a greek way with caviar. Right is a spiced beets, za’atar with garlic potato, lower left tzatziki, cucumber with herbs and creamy yoghurt,  and feta with kalamata olives. All excellent.

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I ordered bronzini, a very tasty fish.

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We laughed because Ginnie doesn’t like to see the fish with the head and eyes on the plate but I told her I’d make sure it was dead.

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The fish came with a wonderful Greek salad with a stuffed grape leaf (dolmada) in the center.

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Ginnie ordered the ibrami, (I’m not sure that is spelled right), it is a roasted tomato, eggplant and onion loaf. Girls share and we both tasted everything. One of the benefits of having girls day out. The pellini sauces enhanced the loaf. Every bite a treat. I hope I’ve made you hungry for Greek food, because just writing this makes me want to go back.

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