Friday, August 30, 2013

Georgia on My Mind and Reflections

There is nothing like going home. I was born in Philadelphia but spent lots of time in Georgia and it feels like home. Where ever my mother is represents home. Her house is always warm and welcoming with every gesture to make her children and family welcome. From the way she decorates her home to being in the kitchen with her as she cooks how I did when I was a child and still do when I am at her house. I learned to cook by being in the kitchen with her and watching what she did and still does.

The south it is part of my origins and where my mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother came from. I can research my genealogy back to my great great grandmother. On I was able to go back to slave records from plantations in Georgia with slave holdings. My mother and uncle often talk of my great great grandfather sitting in his home around the fire discussing with other neighbors who gathered of "slavery times." How amazing. I wish family members back then put information in writing, if they could write but information was pass on from "word of mouth". My mother told me that my father's mother did have a family bible and documented family genealogy in it but she has long since passed and to whom did the family bible go? I get sentimental when I think of memories of my childhood and creating new memories since my mother moved back o Georgia after she retired years ago.

There are two houses in her neighborhood for sale. One directly across the street from her house. I can say I have thought of what it would feel like to live there close to her and other family who still live in Georgia. How would it be? I'm used to a lot of light at night. There is little light in neighborhoods or surrounding homes that I have seen during the road trip during the night while I watched as we drove. It's pitch dark on some roads. How would I adjust to this? Crime is universal but some people only think that the city has crime. Would I feel secure on acres of land possibly in a house alone? I would have to adjust to the weather and never having snow, the gnats, extreme temperature or adjusting to a different climate. I think of so many things. I am such a "city girl." I love urban life with it's noise, lots of people, shops, farmers markets, the ability to walk almost anywhere, block parties, good health care, and New York, the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall. My favorite, snow, although I don't like to be snowed in and having to dig the car out, or catching the bus to work because there is so much snow that cars can't be moved. But I am drawn to all things rural, to nature, trees, the sound of birds, the blue sky with puffy clouds. I could go on and on but I won't. As I grow older in years I think of the possible years ahead. What will life be like years from now for me? As my parents age and I help participate in their care it has brought a new perspective on life. It would nice to know the future but that's not possible. I'm glad there is "some light along the path". So do I "bloom where I'm planted or what?

Mom's Pound Cake greeted us when we arrived. It was delicious as always.
Pears from my Uncle's Tree. He lives across the street from my mother.
My Uncle's House. The Brick home on the left with the car in the drive.
More Pears

No day is complete without yard work.
Raked pine straw. Pine straw is wonderful for mulch but endless to rake even off the roof.
Sandy soil of Georgia.
Canning jars. I was to take the pears home but they started to get over ripe so my mother canned them. She had already canned cases of figs and pears for us to take home.
Canning in progress in the canning pot. Boiled peanuts on the counter. Have you ever eaten boiled peanuts, a southern thing.
I brought the fig cuttings home. There are three. One is for me.
I also brought some of these home.
No trip is complete without visiting the meat market for sausage, bacon, bologna, butt rub (a rub for meat), and other items to take home to Philly. Can't leave without taking a part of the South. The store is in Climax Georgia
The entrance to the building. I would love my fern to live, kill one every year. When will I learn that my house does not have the right requirements for them?

The front porch. Come sit a while!
Till next year!

Georgia on My Mind and Visiting Mom Part II

During my time in Georgia we visited a plant sell in the neighborhood. Not a good thing because I went with my sister and once she sees plants that's it. I thought that it was someone who maybe grows some seedlings or small cuttings for sale. I was wrong. This woman had been growing plants for years. She said she got interested in plants from her mother. Her yard was an oasis of plants and flowers. The small preview in the front yard did not prepare me for the multitude and variety of flowers and plants. 

In the center of the yard was a tower of flower pots from small to humongous. There was a shed where she kept her wheelbarrows and gardening tools. She told us she was in her eighties and retired. One of the plants she specialized in were sago palms. Most of the palms in yards in the neighborhood had been grown by her including the one in my mother's yard. She had a huge spectacular thungergia blue grandiflora vine. It was covered in blooms. I had seen this vine on the rare plant website and wanted to order one. My sister bought cuttings and she was very generous. This vine in perennial in Georgia but not in Philadelphia thus if it roots it will have to be over wintered. I hope it survives till Spring. 

There was a lemon tree with lemons larger than grapefruit, a pomegranat tree with ripening pomegranats, and a  fig tree. She had a large variety of unusual coleus which she propagates from cuttings and over winters them for the next season. She had some many plants. To me this really was a nursery and her careful care to her plants and garden showed. I din't buy any plants but will get a cutting from the thunbergia. My sister bought hot peppers plants, an unusual type of lirope, and of all things a sago palm. How she will get this to stay alive in Philly is yet to be seen although I have see them in garden centers in Philly. I guess they are taken inside in the Fall. I will visit the flower sell again next year if offered. 

My mother does well propagating plants and trees from cutting. She has fig tree cuttings, pine trees, and a mango tree. There is a row of fruit trees she grew from seeds that she save from fruits she had eaten. These trees have not had fruit yet and it's been five years so she wants to cut them down and get nursery starts. I talked her out of it for this year. We will see if they bear fruit next year. She has a flower bed in the front of the house and one in the back. I would love to have this type of space to garden. She has limited what she plants because she lives part of the year in Philly and is not in Georgia year round to manage the garden. The gardener maintains the grass but sometimes cuts flowers that shouldn't be cut down. 

Spider Lilly I think. the rain beat the flower stalk down. The pine straw from the trees make great mulch.

Jasmine Vine. It has already flowered. My mother gave me seeds to try to grow from it.

Oak covered in fern. This tree is in a neighbors yard. It reached from the yard and covered the street.

Look at the fern.
That's my Nephew. Way ahead of my sister and I as we walk in the neighborhood looking at gardens.

I would like to know the name of this flower.

Love the tree. My mother also showed me mistletoe growing in an oak tree.

Signs of Autumn

I stopped at the produce market in Glenside today. Glenside is a county outside of Philadelphia. They have a plant area and the first thing I saw was a sea of orchids for five dollars. I thought I was in orchid heaven and obviously some other shoppers did also evidenced by the amount of orchids in their shopping carts. I bought two. I hope after the blooms fade that the plants will survive and bloom again. Last year I bought two plants from the produce market in my neighborhood and they died. They were beautiful but I think I over watered them.These type of orchids are supposed to be easy to grow for beginners. I guess someone didn't have me in mind. I will need to surf the web to read up on how to care for orchids. I think this will be my new place for buying cut flowers. There was a large variety to choose from and super cheap. I bought 2 bunches of asters. One for my living room and one for my bedroom. They were only one dollar and forty nine cents for each large bunch.

Signs of Autumn approaching were every where such as the cool season annual stock. I love stock and it was only a dollar but I didn't buy any. I'm waiting for pansies since my pansies didn't survive during my road trip. Of course there were mums. I started to see mums in garden centers in July. This seemed really early to me. There also were lawn decorations such as scarecrows. I love Fall. I look forward to the leaves changing colors and falling. The array of colors are stunning. I like to walk through the fallen leaves each year and hear them crunch. When we were children we would jump in large piles of leaves. I enjoy the smell of burning wood from home fireplaces as I take a walk through the neighborhood after work and of lighting my first fire at home.

As Autumn approaches it also signals the end of my Summer vacation after Labor day. Back to work and an end to the leisure days of Summer. It's time to start preparing the garden for winter and soon bulb planting.

Last years orchid

 Today's purchase and 2 types of Chinese evergreens. I have had them for a year and they haven't died. I have learned to select plants that will survive under the conditions in my home. I have insisted on others that don't but many plants are tropical and require high light and I can't put every plant under a plant light. I I have bought many plants because I like them. This is was not a good idea because they are no longer here.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Georgia on My Mind and Childhood Memories Part II

The house that my grandmother and great grandmother lived in are no longer there. In it's place is a forest of trees.  We continue to visit where the houses stood every time we visit Georgia, it's bitter sweet. Next door to where my grandmother's house stood is a house that is now vacant. It looks similar in style to what her house looked like except she had a screened in porch and her house was raised up off the ground. My brother and uncle braved the brush and trees to get a closer look and see if the branch was still there, it was.The pecan tree in the yard was filled with large pecans and my brother collected some that had fallen on the ground to show me. They were still green and not ready for eating. 

When we visited in the Summer we would walk up the road to the park. There were two swimming pools. One for younger children to wade in and one for older children. The see saw and swings were still there although I'm sure replaced from the ones we used. As children we swam all day and came out of the pool only for a brown bagged lunch given out. My favorites in the park was the see saw and of course the swings. I still like to swing. On the day we went there was a baseball game in progress. A new Jackie Robinson field was built since I had last visited. The park and playground looked the same when we visited except for the baseball field, it's amazing. It's like going back in time and feeling like I was still that same small child.

Visiting the cemetery is also something that we do as a family when in Georgia. I always say quietly to myself, "grandma, I'm here." We visit the graves of my grandmother, great grandmother, grandfather, aunts, uncles, and cousins who have passed. 

The vacant house next to my where my grandmother's house stood.

We walked this road many days on our way to the park to swim and play all day.
Across from were my grandmother's house stood. There used to be a house here. Theses tree were here when we were children.
My brother on the left, Mr. Fred in the middle, and my uncle on the right. Standing above the bridge connected to the branch. Watching the water and sharing memories for my brother and uncle.
Me! Sorry my eyes are closed. I blinked and my sister took the picture.

Georgia on My Mind and Visiting Mom

When our family visits Georgia my brother rents a van so that we have enough room for any family members who also want to take the road trip to visit. It also provides storage for all the purchases we make to bring home. My brother, sister, and myself traveled down. My daughter and nephew stayed home to take care of the house and pets. My young nephew travels to Georgia with my mother at the end of the school year in June and my brother usually drives down to pick him up before school starts again in September. This year the family dog Chelsea traveled with us for the first time. Chelsea is actually my brother's dog.

Mom's House

At the corner

There are two dog wood trees. My mother said the blooms are white in the Spring.

My mother picked the camellia seeds for me to take home and try to grow. The blooms are red and white in the Spring.
The Van

We went to Lowes and my sister bought the plants in containers on the ground to take home. She bought a boxwood, lantana, a tropical plant and 2 flowering perennials. The plants were really inexpensive. The plant in the white plastic container are camillas that my mother rooted from cuttings.

Some of my mother's plants.
Sego Palm
Tradescantia Pallida Plant. This grow prolific in her yard and has pink blooms. She has the purple and green types. I didn't know it bloomed. My mother gave me plenty to bring home. She said not to put it in water to root but to put it directly in the soil. This is how she propagates it. Lets see if it works for me.
Lime/tangerine tree

Fig tree still loaded with figs. My mother canned cases of them. Plenty left for the squirrels and birds. My mother grew this from a cutting given to her by a neighbor. The neighbor's tree does not look like this it's still tiny.

Closer view of the lime/tangerine tree. 
The Shed.
Large oak tree with tree fern, moss, and green tradescantia pallida that my mother put on the tree and it rooted and continues to grow and crawl. I have never heard of tree fern but when we drove through Savanna the oak trees covered the streets and were covered with it. I have another picture I will post that shows a tree covered with it.

A closer view of the oak.

Pine Tree
Isn't the bark beautiful on the pine tree? My mother told me that the squirrels or did she  say birds peel off the bark to eat insects under the bark. The ground under the tree is covered in the bark.