There is a most delicate garden species in the deep south. Of the lightest shades of pale. Carefully shaded from the hot southern sun.
One may detect the presence by the sight of pretty straw brims, pale cotton with the tiniest rosebud print, chamois gloves, the dull glow of pearls.
Some are hot-house beauties,
some are shade-tree lovelies,
others are night blooming rarities.
Trailing this delicate specimen is the lovely scent or orange-flower blossom, or lavender, or verbena.
It is the time-honored tradition of the ladies of the deep south to tend to their gardens. It is such an integral part of southern culture and southern womanhood that one may begin to believe that these fine ladies are as much inhabitants of these gardens as any other southern flower.
From this sacred plot comes the foundation of southern belief: We are of this land, and the land is of us. With land and home comes our identity. Our partnership with the soil is reflected in our partnership with our community. We are the stewards of the land. The Lord has fashioned in man a caretaker of his earth. The southerner lifts up thanks to God for the responsibility and the bounty.
In this garden, the southern lady tends to history. It is in the cuttings taken from the gardens of the generations which came before her. She is reminded of her great-grandmother as she tends to her jasmine. She grows the roses her mother grows. She plants magnolias for her daughters and pines for her sons.
From this soil the southern lady nourishes her family. She grows her tomatoes and squashes in late spring, her salads in summer, her deep greens in fall, her root vegetables in winter. Her babies help lift the old English trug baskets, heaping and heavy. They learn from her, and they learn about her. These little ones grow strong in health and knowledge.
From this garden she decorates her home. Pretty flowers. Handsome herbs. Vine wreaths get filled and re-filled as the seasons turn. Cool summer baths, petal-speckled as with confetti.
It is where she goes for comfort, and duty, and care, and connection. It is where she creates comfort, and duty, and care, and connection.