Monday, April 19, 2010

From the Garden...bouquets across the years

The dining room of our Macon house...with mother's garden camellia arrangement on the table
My garden flowers arrangement in our island home... gathered this evening & placed on the sideboard

Note the lamp... this is the same one that's next to my arrangement made today but pictured here about 40 years earlier

Tonight I brought-in the first bunch of flowers from our garden out on the island here that could be arranged into a small, early-spring bouquet. Two roses, some rosemary sprigs and a few blooms n' buds off of our stalwart lemon tree fit nicely, and quite sweetly, down into an old china creamer. I've plunked this onto the dining room's sideboard with a sweetgrass mat underneath it but as it is smelling so wonderful, it will most likely travel eventually onto the top of my bedside table later on this evening.

Whenever I garden out here on this island, I feel "close" to my late mother. This was my parent's getaway place; this was her final house, beloved home and where she passed away within the master bedroom as the sun set over the marsh waters one evening almost six years ago with Dad and I by her side. It was she who planted many of the rose bushes, the lemon tree and the confederate jasmine vines that seem to merrily clamber up our front steps and porch. Mother loved to be outdoors but she really loved to be outdoors watering. I can close my eyes and easily picture her standing around with the watering hose in her hand smiling away. Sometimes I think that her two favorite things to do for zen like moments were watering the flowers and playing away on her piano. Us kids, even as adults, knew these were "her moments" and we could wave to her in passing but it would be rude to completely interrupt her serenity.

Mother, her mother and now in-continuum, myself... we all have tended flowers in household yards n' gardens and brought some of them into our houses and our daily lives. I'm sure that somewhere there are photos of various garden flowers in Grandmother Wylly's Savannah house but I haven't run across any recently. However, I do have some circa early-1970's snapshots of my mother in our Macon house where she's arranged camellias from our yard onto the dining room table. Funny enough, everything in these two photos of this house we still have...minus the really-70's patchwork shade large table lamp just beyond the dining room in our former den. Be sure however to check-out the lamp my mother's turning off in the living room picture since it's the very same lamp that is in my photograph taken this evening of the first island-bouquet of this spring.

Another thing that strikes me when looking at the older photographs is how simple and streamlined the Macon house was- and how older Preppy Houses used to be this way. Far less "stuff n' decor'" and far more sparsity but still such inherent elegance of the items, architecture and daily-living going on within the rooms. I try to keep us fairly streamlined out here as well. Sometimes I go into people's houses and feel like I can't breathe, both literally and figuratively, because of either so much stuff or of over-decorating or, horrors, a combination of the two. Less (but still good quality and great functionality) IS indeed so much more isn't it?

I loved that Macon house as a child. I remember it well and enjoyed playing on the various stairs' landings in the wintertime or by one of the fireplaces and during the rest of the year, playing out in its sprawling yard by the woods or on the rocks lining our pond. Many of my Barbies and my older brother's G.I.Joes "sank" into that pond's dark, still waters. It was a sad day when we had to leave this house behind to move up north for so much of our early-childhood was left behind as well.

But life goes on, great moments await ahead and even the simplest of gestures, that of bringing-in garden flowers to grace a room, pass along through the generations..........


  1. Lachlan....reading your blog is like listening to a younger version of myself! Love Macon...have family there, and went to college in Atlanta, not too far away. Was also in the Jr. League of Charlotte from 1987-1994. Think I was on the board from 1992-1994....did the Follies, etc. and chaired several committees. Were you active during that time? Your name seems familiar...

    Best, Liz (The Classic Preppy)

  2. Hi Liz! Wow...yes, I WAS active in the JLC at that time... what a small world it is indeed, how fun is this? :) I was a provisional during the 1991 year I think and then went sustainer in 2001 as we were leaving Charlotte to move to the mountains of Utah to literally be ski bums. I'm trying to remember what all my placements were during the years you and I were there: SPAC, LAPP, um hmm.

    And so neat about Macon too! We lived on Overlook Avenue but moved away when I was 8. I remember well First Presbyterian Church and times around First Presbyterian Day School plus we had a cabin in the woods on the outskirts of Macon that we used to enjoy a lot as well. For awhile, we'd go back to Macon every New Year's Eve to see friends but now I don't get there at all which is a shame... it's a great town!

    I'll check out your blog (love its name!)and let's stay in touch for sure- all the best, Lachlan

  3. I passed on a blogger Happy Award to you. It's on my blog!

    The Classic Preppy

  4. love this post, Lachlan. I also inherited my mom's love of gardening. thanks for sharing those memories.

  5. Thanks so much for the award- I really appreciate this, wow! And am so glad that we've connected across the miles... The Classic Preppy and this Preppy Islander...fellow Leaguers, fun :)

    Best, Lachlan

  6. Hi Elizabeth! That's so neat and you'll hafta' post some of your gardening pics on your blog sometime :) I always get inspired by other's gardening...

    Happy running n' gardening-away as well! Best, Lachlan