What’s Inside:


And just like that, the unforgettable summer of 2020 is almost over. And while it seemed to go far too quickly, we welcome the changing of the seasons at Three Sisters Sanctuary! Fall brings bright colors, coolness, and the beginning of long migratory journeys. And at the Sanctuary, September is ushering in some new exhibits!

What’s New. . .

We are very excited to announce that more art and sculpture by James Kitchen, Robert Markey, Michael Melle, and Cortni Frecha will soon be adorning the gardens at the Sanctuary! For the very latest information about these upcoming exhibits and their arrival dates, please join one (or all!) of our social media platforms- Facebook, Instagram and Twitter- for updates and announcements.SpecialRequests

Fall in the Air at Our AirBnB!

Western Massachusetts is known for its fabulous autumn colors and flavors- pumpkins in the fields, a myriad of apple harvests, fresh pressed ciders and spectacular foliage. For a restive and extraordinary getaway while you tour the very best the Hilltowns have to offer, book our delightful and roomy, two-bedroom AirBnB! Filled with craft-style furnishings and eclectic art, enjoy the serenity and magic of Three Sisters Sanctuary after hours. From the dawn breaking over the wetlands to the toasted s’mores around the crackling fire pit, our AirBnB experience is like no other! https://threesisterssanctuary.com/stay-with-us/

In the Gardens

Gardening with Cesi at the Sanctuary

by Cesi Marseglia

In September, the Sanctuary reawakens from the dog days of summer as the fall foliage begins to slowly emerge. Soon, the wetlands around the Sanctuary will be a flurry of oranges, yellows and reds. Red maples, which make up the majority of trees in the wetlands, will don their crimson hues, peaking in early October. With reflections of the brilliant blue sky and leaf colors in the shallow waters, this area is a nature photographer’s delight! 

Birds have finished nesting at the Sanctuary and in September, many will begin their migrations south. Wild geese, forming great, wavering ‘V’s, make an appearance overhead, filling the cool air with their haunting calls. Grackles flock through the wetlands, stopping to find nourishment on their way to warmer weather. Cedar waxwings, which particularly love to nest in the stately arborvitae at the Sanctuary, flock to feast on the last of the season’s berries, their high, thin calls floating in the treetops and along hedges.

September is also the month when the latest generation of monarch butterflies emerge from their chrysalises and also begin their migration southward. Some annuals, such as zinnias, are thankfully at the height of their blooming cycle, providing much-needed, late season nectar for butterflies and long-distance traveling hummingbirds alike. Fueling up is essential for their arduous journey.

But most of our summer perennials begin to wane, preparing for a long, dark hibernation. Withered stalks are cut back as leaves begin to fall. While we rejoice in the change of the seasons and the hallmark New England fall colors, the chill in the air reminds us that winter is coming. One hopes that like our hardy perennials, there will be enough sugar in our own roots to last the long winter through.

A Walk With Richard: Magic in the Sanctuary

By Richard M Richardson, Environmental Artist
Creator and Caretaker

I first heard the term “environmental artist” when I went to see the 2001 documentary film, Rivers and Tides, with my friend, Ricky Carroll. This is a movie about Andy Goldsworthy and his passion for environmental art. It taught me so much and encouraged me to very carefully examine my own ideas and creative work. I realized that I was also an environmental artist. 

Ever since I went to Ireland and I saw how that country embraces stones throughout the entire region, I was intrigued. The Irish merge standing stones into their landscapes and I thought to myself, “I hope to do this in my lifetime. Wouldn’t that be fun!” 

What I didn’t realize is how reality was only waiting around the corner for me. I had to dig a water line approximately 17 years ago and it was then I discovered the volume of stone that is on this property. When we dug the trench, the true meaning of a “Stone Dump” was revealed as the stones were at least 10 ft deep over the course of four acres. 

Without a knowledge of what I wanted to do with them, my first instinct was to experiment with standing them upright. From the first stone that I stood upright, there was an awareness of how the energy flowed out of these stones when they were reaching towards the sky. They were so happy to be out of the ground, so happy to be embracing nature and having the wind, the rain and the sun, stars, and moonlight in their world! Their energy overwhelms this piece of property with joy, happiness and a magical unity with nature.

Nature has a way of embracing your energy and can help you heal when you allow yourself to have a relationship with it and respect what it brings into your world. Understanding of what it can bring is evident when you walk barefoot and can feel the energy that is beneath you. Or when you place your hands on the large stones and feel the energy that made them. 

While nature invites us to experience its gifts, art allows us to share our creativity and inspiration with others. When you combine the two, you have a powerful format that creates an impactful experience to the observer. 
I’ve been to the Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York, a number of times and every time I go, it takes my breath away. It makes my thoughts run wild with imagination! I think of the many ways I can continue to create art and how I can continue to use nature to accent what I’m trying to accomplish with my creativity. 

Storm King’s backdrop is overwhelmingly grand; the artwork placement is well thought out as they allow the artists to pick their own locations for their works. This magnificent 500 acre outdoor museum was established in 1960 and should be on the bucket list of anyone who is fascinated by the concept of how art and nature merge. www.stormking.org 

Meet The Artist: Robert Markey

 by Dawn E Dobson

Robert Markey is an extraordinary man. It would be difficult to sum up the depth and breadth of his life as an artist and humanitarian in a single volume book, let alone several paragraphs. He is a living testament to how far one can go if you open the door when opportunity knocks and walk across the threshold to follow the road less traveled. 

Growing up on Long Island, NY, Markey was a precocious child, drawing art and playing music at age six and demonstrating an early aptitude for mathematics. In high school, he was only allowed one artistic elective and chose music, performing in the band and orchestra. A friend was taking lessons from the famous classical guitarist Alexander Bellow and Markey tagged along, finding a new mentor to elevate his musical avocation into a lifelong pursuit. 

A whiz at math, Markey got a scholarship to MIT and immersed himself in the world of physics. “I was entranced with the beauty of the universe,” said Markey, “and how it all works…special relativity, quantum mechanics… the essence of the universe fascinated me.” While he was studying in the turbulent 60’s, universities across the country were becoming a hotbed of protests and counter-culture. 

“I was introduced to Noam Chomsky who was teaching at MIT and his colleague Howard Zinn who was teaching at Boston University and I became immersed in social activism. I went to the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago and was in the crowd that was tear gassed as we protested the Vietnam War.”  

At the same time, the music that stirred a generation was incredibly accessible. “I had a band and we were doing gigs in the area. I saw the Jefferson Airplane perform at a small café in Boston and actually met Paul Simon while we were both playing music,” Markey reminisced. 

During our conversation, I was amazed by how many times Robert Markey started a sentence with “A friend of mine…”.  A friend of his was in Japan so he decided to visit after graduation, riding a motorcycle to California then selling it for his ticket across the Pacific. He lived in Hiroshima, met atomic bomb victims, gardened, and learned the intricacies of the tea ceremony from Buddhist monks while also learning to speak Japanese. 

A friend of his invited him to check out Ashfield, MA, when he returned from oversea, so he moved there to work the land and learn how to build homes. Still performing music, a friend of his encouraged him to learn the sitar so of course he did, taking lessons first in Boston, then eventually trekking to India to study with the master sitar guru, Gokul Nag, for months. Serendipity becomes a way of life if one consciously walks through a door when it is presented.

Getting a little weary of framing houses to support his far-flung travels, Markey decided to return to school and enrolled at UMass for graduate studies in computer science in 1980. Just for fun, he took a wood sculpture course and it was there the proverbial lightbulb went on. 

“I remember thinking, ‘This is it!’” states Markey. He had discovered a tangible, visual outlet for his social activism that was permanent, thought-provoking, and evocative. He began to use many mediums: metal, wood, glass, cement, marble, as well as acrylic and oil paints. This new artistic pursuit quickly segued into a mission.

Robert Markey began creating art that makes a statement. Many of his pieces draw attention to social and political injustices and are often displayed in the public arena. He has gotten a lot of press over the years as much of his work intentionally strikes a collective nerve. However, his passion goes much further than simply sparking debates.

Every summer since 2003, Markey has left his peaceful studio in Western Massachusetts and embarked on arduous journeys to some of the poorest communities in the world. He enters areas of strife and abject poverty and makes a difference. He has taught the art of mosaic in impoverished neighborhoods in Brazil, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

He brings the gift of art, and with it a sense of pride and hope to young citizens, teaching them to create colorful and meaningful mosaics for their communities. He uses his own money and scrounges for materials locally- bits of broken glass and tile. He solicits and receives enthusiastic support from town officials and collects donations from local masons and glass companies. And he continues to make friends all over the world. “A friend of mine…” begins the tale of Robert Markey’s next adventure. We are so pleased to showcase many of his pieces at Three Sisters Sanctuary. www.robertmarkey.com

From the Community: Recognition from Garden Expert, Jana Milbocker!

Jana Milbocker, author of The Garden Tourist and The Garden Tourist’s New England, recently posted a wonderful blog that highlighted Three Sisters Sanctuary on her website www.enchantedgardensdesign.com/blog

Milbocker is a garden design expert and, together with Joan Butler, founded Enchanted Garden Design based in historic Holliston, Massachusetts. They offer garden design services, consultations, and also lecture to area garden groups. Their beautiful website is filled with information on garden design, landscaping, and plant advice on an extensive resource page. 

Thank you, Jana Milbocker! We look forward to ordering your new book and discovering more fabulous gardens in New England!

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