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
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
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
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