Come on my private tour as soon as you can to see the spring flowers, peaking earlier this year. The big surprise this spring is the Lady Banks Rose. I have had it planted for several years by the post in our front garden nearest the Ashley River. I finally got it to do what I want, which is to grow up and over the brick post of the wrought iron fence. This is the first year it has paid me for my patience. It is overflowing with bowers of feathery, yellow, thornless blossoms. My husband, Preston, and I were sitting on the bench on the Battery wall on the Ashley River yesterday chatting with neighbors when we could see someone stooping by our house, taking pictures of OUR Lady Banks Rose and our walkway of flowers. This is the first year our Lady Banks has been noticable.
Lady Banks Rose was named after the wife of an eminent botanist of the 18-19th century, Sir Joseph Banks, who sailed around the world for three years with Captain Cook, returning to England in 1771 with many samples of plant and animal findings. He died in 1821. A collector went to China where this rose grows wild on the banks of mountains, thought of him, brought it back to England, and named it after Sir Jos Banks’ widow. Linnaeus called him “the immortal Banks”.
His legacy lives on in Charleston gardens where long stalks shoot up over walls, along the sides of houses, and up into tree tops. To see this height of yellow sends a thrill through you, actually renewing your confidence to REACH out of darkness and obscurity into the LIGHT! Nature’s triumph inspires our own.
This country has so much to offer. Follow my freshman in college daughter’s example and get friends together to share gas expenses and take turns driving as long as it takes to get here to see spring in Charleston. There is always room somewhere. Call me and I will help you find the hotel, inn, or B&B just right for you. Splurge by treating yourself to the Charleston Tea Party Private Tour. I am blessed to be able to show you by the kindness of my friends some of the finest private gardens of this historic city.
A group I enjoyed having on my tour this week was a doctor who treated her mother in law, daughter, and aunt to my tour to celebrate the mother in law’s 80th birthday. I baked a delicious calamondin orange and crystalized ginger tea cake with a candle lit for her, as we sang Happy Birthday. The Sheffield silver tea service and tea strainer provided the elegant touch for this memorable lunch and tea party after our morning of exploring the Old Walled City together. This daughter in law took time off from her busy practice as a pediatrician to honor the mother of her infectious disease doctor husband. Their daughter took time off as a successful interior designer in New York City to come as well. We are healthier families for taking time set apart to honor each other.
My friend Jane Sandwick from upstate New York renting a house with extended familyat Folly Beach for the month treated her mother to my tour this week also. Preston and I visited them last night at Folly meeting his parents and hers, all together from New York to enjoy each others company with their grandchildren, too. Salt of the earth they are, the ones who make this country great. ” More to be desired are they than gold, yea than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the honey comb.”
Another tour group I had was of college friends having a reunion in Charleston, having gone to Kansas University. They came from all over the country. To keep such special friendships alive is to know what is most impotant to pursue in life.
In that vein, though busy this week, I was not about to deny life long friends in town who I wanted to come for dinner. George Kanellos was here from the White House with son, Hill, on his spring break. Ian Walker was flying in from Paris to pay his taxes and to visit his mother. George was leaving town the next morning. The only time to get together with these old friends was in between tours, Friday night. We had Preston’s Quail Piccata with my home made loquat liqueur. Life long mutual English friend Victoria Hanham made mushrooms in cream .
If you come on my tour, I might just let you have a taste of this nector of the gods. It is a seasonal thing I make every spring, which takes a year to mature. Last spring was a bumper crop of loquats. Come join me for a sip after lunch and tea at my dining room table. I can be contacted at 843-577-5896.–Laura Wichmann Hipp