In My Garden

April 18, 2016




constant gardener II

How beautiful have these days been!!! I always love the springtime, the windows in my house are opened to let the breezes blow the cobwebs out, freshen up everything and revive my senses. I plant new plants and see our strawberries from last year have wintered over and are producing beautiful red berries. The iris moved from mama’s yard are blooming purple and bright yellow. She loved those iris and I am happy to say they are thriving. It reminds me of her yard, lovingly tended to with a grand baby at her side, neighbors walking by, just a sense of content being that is so hard to achieve in this world.

The first things to bloom here in Northwest Florida are my snow drops. I especially love these because they were brought over from our family home on the Outer Banks by my grandmother. then my mother transplanted them to her home and now I am the happy recipient of their beauty. There is a family story that my great grandfather held up one and commented on God’s perfection of detail on these small snowy white bells with green dots. I know he died when they are in bloom because my great Aunt Sister tucked one in his lapel when he was laid to rest.

I feel so close to God, especially when I am outside working the soil and planting,weeding, planning. There is something very healing in being in a garden. I like to think my deceased gardening loved ones are smiling as I pull weeds and divide plants. I was talking to a friend recently and we laughed thinking about these loved ones tending to Heaven’s garden, which I am sure there is one. For some reason I picture it as the most beautiful of all gardens and every leaf and flower and droplet of water is praising God. Glorifying Him with all that is in them. In my garden, I am covered with dirt, blisters on my hands, hair tousled and smiling the biggest smile… thank you Lord for your beauty, attention to detail and for loved ones who passed on an appreciation for your world.

Love,   <><  Suzanne


A walk down memory lane

February 16, 2013

I know I can go on about the past, I don’t mean to. It is just a big part of who I am in this world.The basic truth is…. I dig history! I caught myself droning on about family history lately to a friend and I suddenly realized, this probably not what people want to hear. My own family doesn’t want to hear sometimes, but I find it fascinating to know the details and stories that somehow weave themselves into my history. I guess I love to know what makes people tick and how they turned adversity into triumph, what were their fears, prayers, successes…. I tend to go back to where a lot of these stories happened, I can almost feel their presence with me as I walk along. Recently I visited our family’s old home and took photos. I grew up on the same land that my great grandparents and my grandmother’s family did. I didn’t know them but they have been kept alive by stories and pictures from my grandmother Mary. The grape arbor is still there that my great grandaddy built for his younger wife. It is very low and I find out that she was short and he built it so she could reach the grapes . After almost 100 years, it is a reminder of his love for her. The palms and bridal wreath bushes are there that she planted many years ago lining the long drive. She planted trees knowing that she would never see them grown, but so that we could see them generations later….. so cool. I slink around the yard of the house like a stalker because the new owner is reclusive and won’t come to the door…. and I have to do this! The goldfish pond is gone that she had put in and the strawberries that Nanny Leonard loved are long gone in the walled in garden to the side. But as I sit there, I can almost hear the house come back to life as it was back then. Yeah, I guess I do live the past a little…. but it just enriches my life today and makes me happy to be here , just knowing and being. God bless your day. SuzImageImageImage

Wealthy Is a State of Mind

January 29, 2013


My grandmother Mary Leonard Yates and brother Wade, Blountstown circa 1920.

I am by no means a wealthy woman, I’m really lucky if I have two nickels to rub together! But at times I feel so rich…… not in worldly ways but in the rich memories that I carry around with me. Everytime I go to visit my ninety four year old grandmother, we dispense with formalities and she’ll want to take a walk out in her backyard to see all the plants and just to talk. I love these walks and over the years have learned many southern plants, what not to plant where and who passed down the plants to her. But most importantly I hear stories about her growing up on the same land that we now walk. I crave this kind of continuity that I did not really have for a good part of my life, moving a lot with an ambitious father who wanted to get the heck out of Calhoun County. With my grandmother I have that kind of history and I feel like I too grew up there. Some of the things that please me the most are as random as they can be, but here goes…….. the smell of tea olive blossoms at a bedroom window, the sound of mourning doves cooing in a nearby tree, picking blueberries from the bushes in the yard, checking on the little kid goats in the walled in area out back, sitting on the patio eating boiled peanuts and catching up on the latest, going to town to shop at the dime store, getting milkshakes and then sitting at the river landing to see what was going on ( I know this sounds boring for a Saturday night , but to this girl it was wonderful ). Something as simple as taking a plate over to Miss Thina next door or calling our cousin Len Bailey to see if he was cooking any BQ on his smoker… then a trip to the Chipola river was necessary if he was. All these are the best parts of life to me, simple, uncomplicated, and real . I would say that I am a very richly blessed girl indeed