Granny’s Hat, Flip Flops and Spade (A Memory)By Jacqueline Cross (libellule)
August 11, 2008
Drive through any neighborhood in any town and you are bound to see her. Her name will be different but to most in the area, she is simply Granny. She will always have her big sunhat on, the cord swinging loose as she moves around her gardens. Her spade is well worn, covered in scratches and dirt. It is nearly always in use.
If I were to see this Granny in my area, she would no doubt be wearing flip-flops instead of tennis' or gardening boots. This is the south, after all. Land of beaches, sand, sun, humidity and unbearable heat, and we do not like to wear shoes that make us hotter than we already are.
Photo courtesy of cohdra
Photo courtesy of xenia
Back to Granny. This sweet woman will invite you in, give you a glass of ice tea and insist that you take it to the porch. This, so that you may enjoy the gardens, she will tell you. You oblige, because there is no better spot to sit and visit with Granny than right there on the porch where you can view all her gardens.
Here's a porch swing that
And another comfy swing to relax in.
Let me tell you about one such woman. I knew her as Granny Mae. She lived in the same house from the time she married her husband until the day she passed. They raised a family, went to church, worked jobs and lived a good life with little in the way of worldly possessions.Granny Mae had outlived her husband by about ten years. She never remarried, the reason, she said, there was no use in it.
She kept herself busy with her grandchildren, church, sewing and her gardens. She loved to work in her gardens. She had created several areas in her yard that would be called, "Garden Rooms," today. Back then, it was just what she did to have a place to relax and enjoy a bit of privacy.
Granny Mae started out with a sandy, weed-filled yard when she and her husband were first married. She spent a lot of time gathering cuttings, bulbs and seeds from family members and friends so that she could have flowers in that sandy yard. Ultimately, she turned it into what she referred to as her little piece of paradise.
|Isn't this a sweet spot to relax?|
Photo courtesy of taliesin
A Bleeding Heart
Most of her gardens were cottage type gardens. She liked for things to appear ‘out of wack', she said. She had shrubs like azalea, gardenia, hydrangea, butterfly bushes and sweet shrubs. There were lovely trellises and arbors covered with vines, all around the yard. Climbing roses, morning glories, jasmine and passion vine were just a few of the vines she tended. She also had beds filled with daisies, marigolds, zinnias, mums, geraniums, petunias, salvia, hollyhocks and numerous other flowers I can't remember the names of. She had herb plants mixed in with the bulb beds. She said, once her iris', and other bulbs gave out, the herbs would fill in the area nicely. Granny Mae had jalapeno peppers and tomato plants in with the flowers. There was squash and small cucumber vines right alongside the flowers, too. About that, she said, "there's no reason to go hoeing up another plot just to put my vegetables in, when I have all this here space already fixed up."
Sitting on her porch chatting with her was always fascinating. She was full of stories from her childhood. Stories of raising her children and of course, the stories of how her gardens came to be.
She kept her flip-flops in a little metal bucket on the porch and when she'd get comfortable for a long chat, she would kick them off and almost always land them in that bucket without ever having to get up from the swing. The spade was kept in the same bucket as her flip-flops and her hat hung on a hook above the bucket, beside the door. She had kept these three things in the same place for as long as I knew her.
L-Photo courtesy of
B-Photo courtesy of
Here are two examples
Granny Mae has been gone for many years now. Her house and beautiful gardens are also gone. They were bulldozed to make room for a growing city to expand. She would be heartbroken if she were around to see it. I wish I had known more about gardening and had a desire to do it back then. I would have gotten pieces of her plants so that her gardens would have lived on in my own yard.
I will always remember Granny Mae as a sweet woman that cared about other people and one who poured everything she had into her gardens. She loved to share with others and even though her home is gone, the lasting affect she had on those who visited with her is still apparent in large and small way in their lives.
Why not stop in and visit your neighborhood ‘Granny Mae', share with her and learn from her.
Photo courtesy of
All photographs courtesy of photographers at MorgueFile
Thumbnail photo courtesy of taliesin.