By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Nothing better than a bouquet of love
Liberty lore
Placeholder Image
A salesman once stood in front of my fourth-grade class and explained to my fellow students and me how to sell his packs of vegetable and flower seeds to our families and friends. Any student who sold two whole boxes would receive a beautiful, white Bible. I could hardly wait to get my two boxes of seeds and start taking orders.
Mama went through the seeds, which sold for a dime a pack, and picked the zinnias, or old maids as she called them, and the marigolds for us to buy and plant. Next, I found Mr. Key Howard in his back lane chopping wood, and I showed him the seeds. I told him about the Bible and he asked if I needed one. Well, I surely wanted it and I did not have one. He bought 10 whole packs! I eventually sold all the seeds and received the Bible.
We planted the seeds in a flower bed against the fence. With plenty of cow manure mixed into the soil, the flowers grew well. I enjoyed cutting bouquets of them and sticking them in mason canning jars filled with water. The bright-colored zinnias and orange and yellow marigolds were beautiful and became two of my favorite flowers. I was hooked on planting and working with flowers from that time on.
Several years ago, I was a member of the Moonflower Garden Club in Liberty County. At that time, I think there were three garden clubs. The Morning Glory Garden Club is the only one in the county today. My club used to meet each month for a “flower program” at one of the member’s homes. We gained a lot of knowledge about planting, growing and arranging flowers, and the fellowship with neighboring gardeners was excellent. I still remember a few members fondly: Louise Stewart, Eugenia Cox, Lucy Hamlin, Judy Shippey, Pat Sapp, Lynn Sikes, Pat Brewer, Doris Rogers, Helen Poppell, Frances Smith,  Nell DeLoach,  Linda Ratcliffe,  Amanda Cox and Helen Bryan. There were many other fine ladies and flower lovers, but age has a way of erasing my memory when it comes to names.
One year, I participated in a flower show sponsored by all the garden clubs in the county. I was honored to be selected as a clerk and to follow the judges around as they commented on and critiqued each arrangement. The clerks were not allowed to speak. To me, all the arrangements were gorgeous.
I was nervous as they came to mine. The day before, I had been invited to help myself to any flowers in my co-worker Catherine Folker’s yard. We walked around her spacious yard filled with many plants and chose some of the prettiest blooms and buds to make an arrangement. I thought it was a rule that the flowers had to be grown locally. My selection was a spring mixture of flowers, and I used a bright blue salvia as the main focal point simply because I liked it. I placed a small porcelain blue bird on the table beside my arrangement.
The three judges agreed the entry was beautiful, but they thought I had used too much blue salvia, and they said the bird was out of scale. Now, I did not know anything about scales except that fish are covered in them. Anyway, I won a third-place ribbon even though the “scale” was wrong.
Just a few days later, I received one of the prettiest flower arrangements I’d ever been given. My “adopted grandchildren,” Ashley, 6, and Brandon, nearly 3, came across my yard and knocked on the kitchen door. Brandon looked up at me through his long eyelashes, his brown eyes were filled with laughter and he was smiling from ear to ear. He was holding something behind his back. He quickly thrust a bright bouquet of marigolds and one miniature, yellow sunflower into my hands. The kids had broken the flowers off the bushes in their garden as they walked by them on the way to my house.
“Momo, smell the flowers. They smell good!” Brandon told me. I put the arrangement with its jagged, broken stems into a mason jar, filled it with water and set the bouquet behind the kitchen sink where I looked at it often during the next few days. As I mentally judged the bouquet given to me with so much love, I awarded it a first-place blue ribbon with perfect scale!

Sign up for our e-newsletters