March has nearly come and gone, and I have yet to cut back my roses at the front of the house. It's far more fun to laze before the fire reading Elizabeth Lawrence's gardening books.
If her name is not familiar, please, let me introduce her. Elizabeth and her mother Bess moved to Charlotte in 1947 from Raleigh, where they had created a legendary garden on Hillsborough Street. With their house finished at 348 Ridgewood, mere yards from Elizabeth and Eddie Clarkson's garden Winghaven, Elizabeth set about creating a new garden, now open to the public. Hours: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Afternoons, she wrote -- a weekly column for the Charlotte Observer in the '50s and '60s -- and a handful of books, widely acclaimed among gardening enthusiasts world-wide. Elizabeth was a graduate of Barnard College, and the first woman to receive a landscape architecture degree from North Carolina State. She died in 1985.
On old-fashioned roses
There was a time when gardens in the South were filled with charming, old-fashioned roses with pleasant names and delightful perfume. Unchecked by the pruning shears, they grew to ample proportions and bloomed generously from spring to fall, without benefit of a relentless program of dusting, spraying and mulching. Now they have so nearly disappeared, rosarians are eagerly seeking to bring them back into favor. A great wail is going up for the lost Tea roses, the Moss roses, the Chinas and the Bourbons.
From "A Southern Garden: A Handbook for the Middle South" (UNC Press, 1942, 1967, 1984).