Purple clusters of wisteria, the most photographed in Charleston being the one along the fence of the Timothy Ford House across the street from the Nathaniel Russell House, 51 Meeting St, are now starting to show color with its first blossoms. It will be coming on slowly with the cool weather and its many remaining clusters still in that translucent stage. But that metamorphosis has begun from what looks like dead wood and lifeless burs to luxurious clusters of wisteria dripping with Southern charm. My yellow Lady Banks Rose is in the first stages of bloom along the yellow brick post that we share with the Coast Guard of Charleston. We look across their lawn to the Ashley River. The tiny clusters of yellow are in great abundance, especially noticeable behind our bare twiggy citrus grove with the freeze having dropped their leaves for the second year. We did get two grapefruit and lots of kumquats, which we ate. Our two Meyer Lemons show no life and may have to be replaced. Being this near the Ashley River, we felt safe. One of my two Calamondin Orange trees is in green bud. Before the freeze, I got one harvest for Calamondin Marmalade. Taste and see! The large Formosa Azalea is showing color, and the first buds are open. Light pink azalea blossoms surround towering pink tulips in our pedestal bowl on the white linen table, the picture of Easter! All the windows and doors were open in our house today with a robust breeze caressing the fluttering blossoms. A living, breathing house is a true Charleston home, designed to catch the breezes, not to be sealed up with storm windows that never open. The award winning garden on Montagu we visit is coming on with its first azalea blossoms opening. We’ve only just begun! Johnny Jump-ups, blue and purple violas, adorn my flower boxes and candlesticks enjoying the cool weather. It is warm enough to harvest cilantro and lettuces and Swiss chard from my garden, as well as to plant tomatoes I grew from seed!
I took a branch of Red Bud to Cornelia’s baby born the first day of spring. Her lips are like rosebuds! Cornelia has given birth to the only grandchild of her parents and her FIRST baby at the tender age of 45! She is the last of our friends to have a baby, the youngest of three sisters. This baby’s grandmother was the only child of her mother. This is a rare blood line to continue of Southern graciousness and charm. When this baby’s grandmother had her first of three girls, her mother’s advice was followed: Wear your white gloves for the important events in your life! She did… in delivery! I loved Harry D. Jones, this baby’s grandfather. Harry D. would talk to me for hours with my taking notes on the memories of his escapades growing up in Charleston. There was a police officer known to all the boys downtown. He rode a bike. He would chase boys outside in the early day when they should have been in school. They loved the chase. “—Ride the Rooster Just Like You Used To,” the truant boys would chant. This Harry D. Jones grew up to be a fly fighter pilot in WWll, escaping the deadly chase of Nazi planes. He returned home to finish college and to meet the love of his life, Catherine Oliver, at the College of Charleston, who later studied at the Sorbonne and was a Fulbright Scholar, teaching French for many years at Ashley Hall.. I am blessed often to go into the garden of Catherine’s good friend, Molly, who was there with her when Harry D. and Catherine met at the College of Charleston.
Magic is in the air this Spring 2015 as the world becomes a wonderland of hope and new possibilities. My own baby is now a tenth grader. She is on spring break and slept in this morning. In her long sleep, she indulged in dreams not cut off by the alarm. She had two girlfriends spend the night but told me alone in the kitchen that she dreamed it was the time of Christ’s Second Advent. She was in our home with our family and youth group friends from St. Philips. She said that in the dream our home was a mansion. (My husband smiled proudly when I told him, as if her dream was stating reality.) She was wishing in the dream that she had realized His Second Advent would be so soon. She said she would have been bolder in telling more friends about Jesus, urging them to live for Him, taking more seriously the time. She said life was carrying on as usual with her body feeling hunger, etc, but all knew His coming was at hand. The day had come when people least expected Him, and all eyes could behold Him. Out of the mouths of babes! Victoria’s dream this morning is my Easter message to you. Can an Easter message be any more a message of renewal?
Just as the prophets foretold His first coming as the Son of David, born in Bethlehem, the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world, so the prophets also foretold his Second Coming as King over all the earth. We believe that He shalt come to be our Judge. People abusing the system to get more money any way they can will be caught short. Pray with me for those who are pulling down our democracy to turn from their ways while there is time. “People get ready, there’s a train a comin… All you need is faith to hear the whistle blowing. You don’t need no ticket; you just get on board.”
In Charleston we are surrounded by what many call mansions. It is the Life of the Spirit of Christ Jesus that makes these homes come alive with something real, with the sense of community we have akin to the Kingdom of Heaven. It can happen anywhere. At our High Tea after the tour, I pray, “So create a desire within us to desire what You desire for us, that at Your Son Jesus’ Second Advent, He may find in us A Mansion, prepared for Himself, who lives and reigns with You, one God, now and Forever!”
Maybe that is what our daughter Victoria dreamed, that she had prepared a mansion within, fit for Him, with many lovely rooms…
A deep history lesson with The Charleston Tea Party Private Tour awaits your arrival. Life is precious. Call us at 843-708-2228 for a morning tour, year round, weekdays, beginning with breakfast overlooking the harbor and Ft. Sumter, ending with High Tea at my house overlooking the Ashley River, with many beautiful sights and lessons from history where we step inside and in between. Charleston is a treasure trove of architectural beauty enhanced by well tended gardens coming into bloom this April. Wherever you are, lift up your head and have a Happy Easter! Laura Wichmann Hipp 843 708 2228