For years I’ve drooled over pictures of homes in the south.
All those gloriously tall trees
Dripping with Spanish Moss.
It all seems so romantic
John & I have talked about a trip to Charleston for a long time.
So when this summer failed to produce a vacation.
We decided to do something completely out of character for us.
A September trip.
John did his usual research and before we knew it we were off to Charleston.
And since we had met a man from Beaufort, S. C. on our “urban sailing vacation” a few years back.
We decided to visit his beloved hometown.
The fact that John’s favorite author Pat Conroy resides there only sweetened the deal.
And then as if that wasn’t enough we learned that the Charleston Preservation Society was having their fall home and garden tour.
It was meant to be.
So off we flew to Charleston.
Now…I ‘m sure you are thinking that the pictures of Charleston will begin here.
And they should.
But I didn’t take any.
Weird, but somehow after all that dreaming we just didn’t click.
So…we decided to move on to Savannah.
Savannah is built on a grid
The planner a Mr. Oglethorpe (I think) wisely included 24 “squares” in the plan
22 survive today.
They would now be known as “green spaces”
What a forward thinker.
Most have a statue
All have enormous old live oak trees.
Dripping with moss.
Now I expected some sort of Southern Living gardening extravaganza of color.
I kept looking for banks of glorious Hydrangea
Color filled cutting gardens.
What’s going on here.
A few pots here and there but really…no color.
Then it hit me.
The thing about all those glorious old trees is
They create shade
Lots and lots of shade.
The kind of shade that only allows green to grow.
Moss, ferns, hostas, boxwood.
And oh how green it is.
The humidity hovered around 95% our entire trip
Afternoon showers came almost daily.
So what was needed here was a paradigm shift.
What I came to see simply doesn’t exist here.
Time to start admiring green
And small “secret gardens”
And the seashells poured into the roads centuries ago.
It’s that “seeing thing” again.
If we look we will see.
And then there were the houses of Beaufort.
We saw them all.
Courtesy of a charming young guide named Carly.
She’s passionate about history.
We walked the town with her for 2 1/2 hours listening to her slow southern drawl.
She told us how Beaufort was founded in 1711 so that makes it 300 years old this year.
The town decided to identify all the trees that have been there from the beginning.
300 year old trees – imagine.
As you can see they are beyond description
They call them Birthday Trees.
I like that.
Then there were the homes.
Old gracious homes.
As it turns out one of these homes we have known for some time.
It’s the house where my favorite movie “The Big Chill” was filmed.
But before that it was also the home in “The Great Santini”.
The book that got John hooked on Pat Conroy’s writing.
So what is the lesson in all of this for me.
It is that simple saying
“Bloom where you’re planted.”
I’ve admired these old homes and their charms for years.
As it turns out they are gorgeous.
But they are really old.
Which means lots of work.
And the giant trees that surround them
But giant trees create endless shade.
So though I consider myself contented.
I am even more so
My garden has sun and shade.
We have a 9 month growing season here.
Which gives me days and days in the garden.
Then just when I wear completely out.
The freeze comes.
And with it needed rest.
So perhaps we are where we are supposed to be.
Or…maybe we adjust to where we land.
It’s really up to each of us
To choose to bloom.