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October 2, 2011 / Linda Hartong


Carmel keeps its own Historic Register of Homes and the Studio of Helen Cheney Brown is on the list. I often walk by this cottage and admire the flower laden arbor over the Carmel stone path that leads to the house.

The sound and sight of the fountain

a glimpse of a bird feeder,

bird bath

and lush vines cascading over the garage

are all I can see. 

Today I have my calling card and my sister-in-law, Karen, with me.  When I express my frustration with not being able to see more of the garden, Karen starts pushing me in through the arbor and down the path.

“You have a card this time. Go knock on the door”, she commands.

I take a quick shot of this charming vignette outside the french doors

and knock on the door.

As we wait, I note this wonderful Lion under the eves.

A slender, blond woman in a white tennis outfit answers the door, clearly surprised to see two strangers.

I tell her I have seen her home on the Historic Register and ask if might take some photos. In an English accent, she gives me permission.

Karen and I head around the back to the patio of Carmel stone.

We both notice what seem to be windows set into ivy that covers the back fence

and go closer to look through.

At this point, Mrs. Clendon, comes out of the house laughing.

We have seen ourselves in the windows which are really mirrors cleverly set behind window frames. She tells us she found the mirrors at Target and has had lots of fun with them.

When her sister visited from England, she looked through the “windows” and said “Quick, get a gun and shoot it!”.

We chat for a while and admire her lovely roses.

When she steps back into the house, we make our way up the garden stairs.

I want a shot of this birdcage

and the fuchsia.

Karen and I both love the way these pink flowers contrast in their size and foliage.

The Passion Flower is covered with bees ( can you see him gathering nectar)

and I finally get a decent shot of that fountain framed in ferns.

  Lush foliage blankets the bird feeder.

With one last look, we are on our way home.

Later I read that

Helen Cheney Brown (1854 – 1935) was born in Canandaigua, NY on March 29, 1854.

She was one of the earliest artists to settle on the Monterey Peninsula when she moved to Carmel in 1870. She was active in Carmel’s art colony until her death there on Jan. 23, 1935. Her rare works include landscapes, still lifes, and mission scenes.

I also see her mentioned in regard to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.  Helen Brown donated the Saddle Rock Ranch to be used as this park and requested it be named after her friend.

Thanks for “covering my back” on this , Karen! You are always fun to be with.



Leave a Comment
  1. kjm / Oct 2 2011 11:13 pm

    It looks like a peaceful garden. Isn’t the fuchsia gorgeous!

  2. janet bishop- magina / Oct 6 2011 1:57 pm

    The flowers were glorious this past week. I saw some of the cutest miniature impatients in a wall planter; I have never seen them before and I was enchanted. Too bad the rain chased me out of town before I was ready to go 😦

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