In the midst of my nerve-wracking tree planting I had three lovely presents brought to my front door by my new neighbors in Charleston. One of these is a friend from NYC who has a beautiful Greek Revival house just six blocks down the street in Charleston. She arrived with a box of croissants and macaroons from a local bakery that made me feel as if I were back in Paris. A great way to start the day! Her amazing house (much grander than my Chisholm House) is a wonderful collaborative effort between my stylish friend and the talented designer (and another friend) Mario Buatta.
The day before the actual planting of the “monster trees,” the construction company knocked on neighbors’ doors to tell them their cars would need to be moved for a day and that power would be shut down for a few hours. I watched as the worker knocked on the door directly across the street. It seemed that the lady might have some concerns, so I went over to introduce myself. She told me she had grown up in her house and wondered why I was changing things . I explained about my new garden and my dream to fill it with flowers from the south: Magnolia grandiflora, jasmine, camellias, and gardenias. We chatted for quite a while, and she said she might come over the next day to see the trees. Sure enough, she arrived the next morning with a wonderful tray laden with camellias that her mother had planted decades ago!
Nancy, my new neighbor, is 92 years old, so you can figure how long ago those camellias were planted. What objects of joy and beauty! Sadly, as my house was totally empty in preparation for construction, I had only an empty water bottle and some Styrofoam coffee cups as vases . . . but even those ugly vessels could not diminish the beauty of her ravishing camellias. Those flowers kept me company during my three-day stay in Charleston. I was so touched by her generosity, as well as eager to share its beauty with all of you.
The other house across the street is owned by a charming lady who brought me homemade Charleston savory crackers accompanied by a bottle of champagne. How could anyone feel more welcomed than that?
The graciousness of these ladies made me feel so good and happy. This very generous welcome is not something that one sees everywhere today, so this is my salute to the graciousness of the south. Thank you!
Here I am with my new neighbor, Nancy. I loved that she was dressed in vibrant color and (like a proper lady) was perfectly made up for her visit. She looked wonderful!