Mim was the secretary of our local garden club. I’m not sure what they did, but I do know that they had lunch each month. Some of those months, I was fortunate enough to be “sick” and wasn’t able to go to school. Off to Mim’s I’d go, and I’d watch in the kitchen while she polished silver and whipped caramel into a frenzy of frosting for cake. “The fork goes here” she’d say, and then she’d send me into the dining room to set the table. She’d go about her morning baking yeast rolls, checking on her congealed salad, and making flower arrangements from the flowers in her garden.
When the ladies arrived, the whole house filled with this amazing energy. These women wore pearls and dresses, and talked about lovely things like their gardens or family recipes. Thankfully, I was always miraculously healed just in time for the club meeting, and could watch all of this unfold.
Mim began each meeting by reading the minutes in her slow, Southern drawl. She read about things like the church floral arrangements and roses. Then, she would take to writing the notes in deliberate, scrolling cursive. She was the keeper of the garden club thoughts until the next meeting.
After each meeting, several of the women would not so stealthily sneak off to “steal” a cutting from my grandmother’s roses. They said that to grow beautiful roses from a cutting you had to steal the rose from someone else’s garden. If you asked to take the cutting, it would never grow. Mim would politely turn her back to her roses and say goodbye to the other ladies while a group of them giggled and took snips of her roses.
Back inside, Mim and I would clear the table, washing each of her dishes by hand and returning them to the china cabinet. We’d wrap the leftovers and wait for my mom to come home from work to eat leftovers with us and tell her all about the meeting.
Since moving from Dayton, I’ve had a strong desire to garden. To grow something from the dirt. To get my hands dirty and to grow something nourishing and beautiful. I started with a small plot in our back yard for vegetables. I’ve cherished having fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables. We’ve made salsas, eaten lots of salads, and we split the few strawberries we saved from the rabbits. Each time I look at my front yard though, I realize it needs a little something. A little softness and a little color.
I joined our local garden club to learn more about, you guessed it- gardening. I don’t feel intimidated by vegetables, but flowers are a different story. I’ve been a member since June, and I am learning so much-about flowers and life- from these women. I can say, “I have a question about crepe myrtles, roses, plotting out my yard, whatever” and someone is certain to know the answer.
Our president came to my home a few weeks ago to walk around our yard pointing out what needs to be pruned or removed and how. Then, she helped me plot out new landscaping and left me with stacks of books to pick out flowers. Nothing beats a gloomy day like looking at landscaping and gardening books!
I’m still deciding what I want in my front yard, but I am certain there will be roses. Mim had shrub roses that looked wild and unruly and perfect! I know that I want something similar in my garden, and my new obsession is the Gartendirektor Otto Linne- which I learned about at a garden club meeting! It’s a shrub rose, and absolutely beautiful! You should totally head over to Tuscan Rose or Hartwood Roses. They both have beautiful photos of my new favorite rose, and lots more!
This month, we didn’t have a club meeting. Instead, we met for lunch. We ate lots of girly food, drank Mint Julep tea, and talked about new brunch places opening near our houses. They answered all my questions, and always make me feel like a welcome member of the group. I feel so connected to Mim at each meeting, and I am so looking forward to starting my own garden. I’ll be sure to keep you updated and share lots of pictures!