Nanny's Flowers

By Brenda S. Brown


Nanny loved beautiful flowers; during the spring and summer her yard was filled with intense color.  She grew petunias, zinnias, verbena and bachelor buttons.  There were snapdragons, marigolds and sweet Williams, plus dusty miller, delphiniums and holly hocks all around the yard.

There were hydrangea bushes, gardenias, and Cape jasmine in her collection, therefore the summer evenings were filled with sweet aromas, more tantalizing smells than can be described.  There were honey bees, butterflies and assorted birds buzzing around the yard; the sights, fragrances and sounds were unforgettable.

I looked forward to visiting my Scott grandparents in Terrell County and if I was lucky, Nanny took me on an afternoon excursion to Hanner's Nursery.   First Nanny and Ms. Yip shared the community happenings.   The Dawson News remains the favorite printed media and there was selected local news on WALB television in Albany, and there was always the noontime edition on the radio station WDWD, Dawson Georgia, but sharing thoughts with a friendly neighbor was always the fondest way of knowing the current neighborhood events.

People truly cared; whether the news was happy or painful they banded together and cared for each other.  Weddings and births were celebrated with home baked cakes and maybe a baked ham plus gifts to the family; tragic news was mourned but it was also time to bake a casserole, or open your home for out of town relatives.

They shared the information as we walked the rows of exotic and indigenous plants so Nanny could make her selections.  She needed plants that thrived in the shade and others that could survive the hot South Georgia sunshine and she depended on Ms. Yip for her knowledge and assistance.  Nanny purchased several flats of blooming beauties and occasionally a few shrubs to anchor the yard.

Once she paid, in cash of course, we loaded the purchases into the truck of the car, which she called the boot, and hurried toward home because there were always chores waiting.  Nanny gardened in a long sleeve shirt and a homemade bonnet, the heat never seemed to matter to her but she did not get sunburned.  She wore heavy gloves, an apron with a pocket, and sturdy all-weather shoes.

One of her favorite plants was something she called hen and biddies; there were several sturdy concrete planters that resided near the front steps.  She allowed gentle cuttings from the robust plants but I was never successful at transplanting it until I was grown and married.

If a rain shower did not develop, she got out what she called the hose-pipe and tended her prized plants.  She enjoyed her porch and yard gardening and looked forward to the compliments that she got from neighbors.  Nanny had a secret obsession and it was one that either you already knew about or found out by mistake, while she was watering.  I will give more details in the next story but I can warn you, beware of an elderly woman armed with a water hose.

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