Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MISS FLORA’S GARDEN, by Charlene Farnsworth

This is a story that reminds us that some people have a gift for creating beauty in the most ordinary of places. It also reminds us to take time to notice someone else’s beautiful creation. By taking time to stop and linger, Charlene and her mom prompted a life-long memory.

One day, Mom and I met a charming, very able octogenarian whose name I do not recall. For purposes of this writing, I think the name Miss Flora befits this lovely lady.
Mom and I were wearily returning from a shopping excursion when we spotted a well-kept, two-story, Victorian home. What particularly caught our eye was the magnificent rose garden on the south side of the house. We stopped curbside to enjoy the spectacular display. Although we were parked on a very busy thoroughfare, we felt we were alone, together, in paradise. The neighboring storefronts and noticeably less-charming housing that had encroached upon this “gingerbread” house over the years seemingly disappeared.
We wondered if we dared to knock on the decorative front door and, hopefully, meet the owner. We were anxious to learn about the history of this Victorian beauty. Knock, knock, knock ¼
Peppy, petite Miss Flora warmly welcomed us and asked if we would like a tour of her rose garden. Of course, we immediately accepted her kind invitation. She told us that she lived in the home until she got married. Upon the breakup of her marriage, she returned to the home and cared for her aging parents.
Remembering the information from Rose Hills on the proper care of roses, I asked Miss Flora, “Do you water underneath your roses and never overhead?” She replied, “I just stand with the hose and spray them!” I posed my next two-part question: “Do you fertilize your roses? By what method?” Miss Flora answered, “I just stand and throw the fertilizer at them!” So much for following the books for abundant, healthy roses!
Miss Flora then invited us on an extended tour of her yard. All along the north side of her “dollhouse” were camellias that reached the second story rooftop. Again, thinking how I always followed the garden books when pruning our own camellias, I asked, “Do you cut your camellias back after they have finished blooming?” Miss Flora responded, “No, I cut them back when I can’t drive my car by them!”
Miss Flora then walked us to the attached back porch which was adorned with hanging baskets of brilliant fuchsias. No more questions from me—just pleasant quiet among profuse color of every hue.
We then followed Miss Flora’s darling figure into her home where we enjoyed another feast for the eyes: a huge collection of elegant Venetian glassware—goblets, candy dishes, vases, etc. While inside, Miss Flora shared a little more about her life and the interesting history of her charming home.
We then thanked Miss Flora abundantly for brightening our day and, reluctantly, returned to reality.
Over the years, Mom and I reflected upon the little side excursion we took one sunny day, enjoying Miss Flora’s Victorian home and well-manicured gardens. Although quite small in stature, Miss Flora added a significant memory to both of our lives.


  1. Charlene-- I so identify with the pleasure you describe in this story. Victorian houses and gardens are my among my favorite things. I love this story recalling the simple pleasures we find in life. That afternoon will forever be an unforgetable experience. I'm so glad you shared it. I might add where did you find this lovely Miss Flora, I too should like to meet her.

  2. From Charlotte ~
    What a lovely story and so very vividly told, I can be there with you.

  3. Dear Charlotte, The kindness of strangers blooms with rewarding surprises. It was fortunate that you three gentle ladies came together to share and appreciate God's floral creations, that for the moment was far from the busy world.

  4. Ahhh...something refreshingly sweet to read in this world full of strife. Thanks for sharing this Charlene. It reflects the gentleness of your spirit.