ProfessorRoush has been away this past week, away from still cold and windy Kansas, to...well, I'll let you guess. Where, might you guess, have I been this week?
If you guessed the South, you're correct, and some of you know of the Wormsloe Plantation ruins and its live oak allée. You perhaps even recognized the statue photographed at the right. I've been to Savannah Georgia, enjoying a few days traveling to new places with Mrs. ProfessorRoush while at the same time lamenting that I was missing the peak bloom of my lilacs back home. The statue, for the unknowing, is Bird Girl, a bronze creation of Sylvia Shaw Judson made famous by the book and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. At the time the book and the movie were famous it was located in the Bonadventure Cemetery of Savannah, but it is now exhibited in the Telfair Academy, an art museum we visited this week and where I took the photo.
Owens-Thomas garden and Enslaved Persons Quarters
Don't, please, think for a moment that ProfessorRoush is an aesthete, or that I, in fact, have any knowledge of art or appreciation thereof. Most of art is lost on me other than the thought that I'm looking at a "neat painting." We ended up at the Telfair Academy by accident, as the ticket is combined with entry to the nearby Owens-Thomas House (garden and enslaved persons quarters pictured above), which we DID want to see. Although the art museum was lost on me, I did enjoy viewing the Bird Girl and I allowed myself to covet it for a brief moment for my own garden.
Gardenia jasminoides 'Daisy'
I hoped to visit Savannah at the heart of the garden season, but I must admit I was sadly disappointed in the garden offerings there. I missed by three days (although tickets sold out last November) the annual charity tour of private home gardens, which was probably spectacular, but the public gardens of Savannah were surprisingly few and far between and nothing to travel for. The Southern Magnolias (Magnolia grandiflora) were in bud everywhere, but not yet openly blooming. There is a small, poorly labeled "Fragrant Garden" in the world-famous Forsyth Park where I took the Gardenia jasminoides photo at the right and enjoyed the vining jasmine and a nice blooming but unlabeled specimen of 'Zephirine Drouhin'. However, honestly and without the slightest hint of humility, I have to say my Kansas lilacs and garden here rival the best that Savannah could produce for fragrance. There's no place like home.
I had hoped to finally see, in person, a few Hybrid Noisette roses in their native south, or at least a good display of other roses in a warmer, wetter and kinder environment than Kansas, but I was completely disappointed everywhere we went. I spied here and there a few barely-surviving English roses and some ugly Drift and Knockout roses. But even the Savannah Botanical Gardens had a less-than-inspiring collection of a few straggly Hybrid Teas, barely surviving in too much shade. It was at the SBG that I took the completely appropriate picture at the left. The label says "Iceberg, Possibly Best Floribunda Ever," and the fact that the actual rose is completely absent here sums up my feelings about 'Iceberg' after I've tried several times to grow that overrated bush unworthy of being called a rose.
One highlight of the trip, however, was a turn off the main road made on a whim to the Pinckney Island Refuge, which we happened to drive by as we came home from Tybee Island. There, we saw this rookery of Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets, socially nesting safe above the alligators waiting below in the pond. I was tickled by the three fuzzy little egrets sticking their heads up in the lower right corner of the photo. Click on either photo to blow it up to full size!
Now that I've mentioned both birds and magnolias, I'll close with photographs taken today of my 'Yellow Bird' magnolia, just past its blooming prime, and of my "lilac row", also past prime. When we left, not a single bud of 'Yellow Bird' had opened, yet six days later I return to find that I almost missed it blooming this year; an unspeakable tragedy narrowly avoided. Since the wind here has blown in gusts of 30-40 mph all day today after a thunderstorm and tornado watch last night, I expect another day of vacation would have left me missing the show. If I can't see magnolias in Savannah, at least I've got them here.