Today as I do almost every day, I stopped in my daughter's room to check the blossoms on her African Violet. They are huge, a rich purple and bloom frequently and fully.  They remind me of the luxury of walking behind my grandparents home and marveling at the carpet of wild violets blooming beneath the trees in the spring - the beautiful southern spring. Thinking of that reminded me of my grand parents' gardens.

Mam-ma always had a flower garden. In the spring there were daffodils and tulips. Sometime later there would be pansies, petunias and zinnias.  There were probably others, but those stand out in my memory.  I was encouraged to pick freely because she said the more we picked, the more they would bloom.  Believe me, I picked freely.

Papaw always had a vegetable garden.  In it, there would be turnip greens, mustard greens, green beans, lettuce, tomatoes and little green onions. Again, there must have been other things, but these are the ones I remember. Many a family dinner featured a little of most of it. Rick-tum-diddy consisted of boiled mustard and turnip greens, black eyed peas and chopped tomatoes and onions over coarse homemade corn bread and topped with pot liquor ( the broth off the vegetables).  Some at least of the adults poured a little Tabasco sauce over that.  Back then I loved it. Not so sure now. Papaw would end his meal by putting a piece of cornbread in a glass of buttermilk and drinking that.. (And yes, the vegetables were cooked with a chunk of salt pork).

My other grandmother is credited with founding the garden club in her little Georgia town. Daddy said she was known for her knowledge of Latin plant names. Her mastery might have had something to do with being the daughter of a physician. It gives me joy to know that my second daughter loves a garden.



The Cherry Tree
Shades of Proust


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