Sunday, February 26, 2012

What Happens to the Garden When the Gardener Goes Away?

Ryan Gainey created the floral displays for the event
 We sold our house a few years ago after living in the house for 18 years and during that time we took down 10 trees, added a daylily garden, put in a large pond, moved plants from my childhood home which included tree ivy, iron plants, antique roses, sweet shrub, camellias, surprise lillies and more.  Most of my daylillies were from John Cranshaw's One Horse Farm in Kathleen and some were his experiments in hybridizing but I had daylillies in every color.  John passed away several years ago and I'm not sure what has happened to his gardening masterpiece. 
 I prepared for moving my garden, potting up as many plants as possible, but in the end I left behind a beautifully tended garden.  The experience left me worrying about what happens to gardens with the gardener is no longer there to tend.
This week I had the pleasure of hearing about the restoration of one well-loved garden.   The Cherokee Garden Library hosted a lecture by the authors of One Writer's Garden, Eudora Welty's Home Place.   The book tells the story of Susan Halton who met Eudora Welty and began learning about the garden as it was in all of its glory.   With Miss Welty's assistance, along with journals, letters and writings, Susan uncovers and ultimately recreates the garden that once existed.  It's a beautiful story full of family history with a glimpse into how the garden played an important role in Eudora Welty's writing.  The book also illustrates the importance of cataloging your plants and mapping your garden.
The Welty Home
Of course I came home from the event so excited because the program was great, the book is gorgeous and the event brought back personal memories of one of the best classes I took in high school - Ms. Dickinson's Southern Literature.   Even more vivid was the memory of getting to meet Eudora Welty when she visited Berry College in the 70s. 
During the book signing portion of the event I was so excited to have been the first in line so while staff was getting everything set up I had time to visit with the authors (and I didn't have to stand in a long line waiting my turn)!   By the way, the very last person to enter the auditorium (making a grand entrance) was Ryan Gainey.  The program was already underway as he (wearing bright orange) and his entourage paraded to the front row.   Seriously, was that necessary?   He is such a character!
Now, more than ever, I'm excited about spring.   The hyacinths and daffodils are blooming and the tulip bulbs from last year's tulip festival in Portland are starting to sprout.   

Oh, and I almost forgot!  Penny at The Comforts of Home  is the winner of the Random Harvest video.  Congratulations Penny!!

Today I'm joining The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sunday.  Hope you will join her too.

The Oscars - Which film are you cheering for tonight?   I can't decide between Hugo and The Artist.   Of course I'm still blown away by Meryl Streep's performance in The Iron Lady.  She is amazing.


  1. I really enjoyed your post. I so wish PBS would re-run Ryan Gainey's old series "The Well-Placed Weed". I always giggled at that title, because it reminds me of my garden...the weed part. Mine should be the ill-placed weed. I love planting, but not weeding. Hope you have a great Sunday.

    1. I'm with you. I miss the Ryan Gainey series and a number of the wonderful gardening shows that use to be on HGTV. Happy Sunday to you too Babs!

  2. It sounds like a wonderful book! I am thrilled I won the video! Thanks again!

  3. Thanks for sharing this book. It looks great. I'll look for a copy. It's beautiful here today, and I need to get myself out into the garden. Being lazy this morning. ~ Sarah

  4. We've put in a few flower beds in the house we now live in but had virtually nothing in our first home. I can remember thinking, as we looked at new homes to buy, that I would never know what to do with those big flower beds. Ones that the gardener had obviously taken years to cultivate. I kept thinking.. "If we bought this place and the old owner drove by in a few years, they would be heart broken"

    I've been "getting by", doing a minimum gardening. I've decided that now that my kids are older and I have more time, I'm going to step it up this year.
    Wish me luck! I might be back for some advice. :)


  5. I haven't thought about hyacinths in ages. I have just GOT to go buy some and get them planted.

    Thank you for sharing the picture of Eudora Welty's home. I had driven by the property once on a trip, but did not get to visit the home.

    Have a great Sunday afternoon. ...Marsha

  6. I am not familiar with Ryan Gainey, I'm ashamed to say...He certainly looks like quite a character....! Your Garden had to have been Gorgeous, my dear.....It has to be hard to leave such a labor of love.....

    As to The Academy Awards: I do have my First Choices for The Oscars, but..I'm saving that for tomorrow---after the "event"....

  7. Because I've lived in NYC my whole life my persoanl experience with gardening has been limited, but I do adore beautiful gardens and I know I'd find this book interesting -- I'll have to order it!

    Watching the Academy Awards as I type.I htink ":Hugo"s going to be the big winner tonight, followed by The Artist. I'd also love Streep to win Best Actress!

  8. Love that basket of camellias. We didn't watch the Oscars tonight - had company over instead. Beautiful gardens are a lot of work, and hard to leave behind. I hope yours is being well tended.

  9. The springlike weather we've been having has made me want to start digging! I just told my hubs this weekend I want to do some new things this year. I don't have tons of luck with flowers due to the heat here in south GA. The last two summers have just been so unbearably hot I don't think the flowers had a chance. But I do want to add some new nooks & crannies to our yard. I just need to find the ideas...he's pretty good with yardwork if I just tell him what I want! Better start looking.

  10. It's good that you were able to transplant a fair number of your lilies to your new place, although I'm sure that anyone purchasing a house with a loved garden must be a garden lover too!
    I don't know Ryan Gainey at all - must look him up.

  11. What a great post. It is hard to think of our labors of love and what happens to them when we're gone whether they be a garden or a well tended home. It's wonderful to have you be a part of Seasonal Sundays!

    - The Tablescaper