- A young family who’s trying to mix modern needs into the garden of a historic Mediterranean Revival home.
- An 86-year-old gentleman, from the wrong side of the tracks, who enlisted in the US Navy at 16 having lied about his age.
- The person who organized fundraising events and presentations for the New Orleans Botanical Garden.
- A health and nutrition aware doctor who talked me through the horrendous medical mistake that nearly killed my mother.
Bonnie connects people. All kinds of good people. She loves equally the Garden and Gun crowd, the just-out-of -jail crowd, the preacher’s wife, and the redneck mechanic. Bonnie introduced me to all the people in the above list.
She can tell great stories about all these people, too. She interrupts her stories with laughter. She might enhance them a bit, just like she might enhance her garden with a few strands of the best plastic Spanish Moss you’ve ever seen.
Bonnie’s garden tells of her obsession, of her move from New Orleans to Augusta, Georgia, of her respect for the earth, of her family, and oh, did I say her obsession? A mutual friend, a young woman told me recently, “When my garden grows up, it wants to be just like Bonnie’s garden!” What a goal: wild and colorful, full of plans and dreams amended by reality, roots and ripped jeans.
Bonnie asks for my advice and my muscles, but she rarely takes my advice. Early this summer, she decided a row of contorted mulberry (Morus alba ‘Unryu’) should grow in front of her purple fence. Hmm. I didn’t comment. I wasn’t asked to– just dispatched to get the plants and care for them until proper planting time. And of course, I was asked, over and over, to acknowledge that “Yes, contorted mulberry was the perfect choice for the purple fence.” It will be spectacular in every season.
Five years ago, Bonnie introduced herself to me; smiling but sort of abruptly, she said, “You need to come see my garden” then looked around to a friend and said, “Tell him, he needs to come see my garden.” Something about the smile, the invitation warmly but authoritatively stated, and something about her plain brown dress, with caroonishly big black buttons, drew me into Bonnie’s world.
Here’s a slide show from her garden today, the day before Thanksgiving. It’s spectacular but even more special when you know that all the color, all those maple trees, this whole garden Bonnie grew from seed, planted digging and scratching. That and that Bonnie connects people always make me think of “Schoolhouse Rock” when I think of her. Remember this?
Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?
Hooking up two boxcars and making ’em run right.
Milk and honey, bread and butter, peas and rice.
Hey that’s nice!
Dirty but happy, digging and scratching,
Losing your shoe and a button or two.
He’s poor but honest, sad but true,
Here’s a slide show of Bonnie’s garden.