Little did Tracy Kramer realize almost a decade ago when she moved to Pontotoc, Mississippi, from Annapolis, Maryland, that she would continue a gardening legacy that had been started over forty years ago. Since Tracy had spent many summers in her youth visiting her aunt and uncle in this quaint northeast Mississippi town, she already had forged memories here. She recalls my Mother welcoming her with gifts of rose bushes as she enthusiastically transmitted her passion and love for rose growing. It was not unusual for Mother’s gardener to appear with several buckets of anything from roses to shrubs to ground cover for transplanting into her new Southern garden.
Tracy started her own rose garden with Mother’s encouragement and growing tips. However, she is an excellent gardener in her own right, earning awards at the Northeast MS Rose Society’s annual rose show in Tupelo.
Last fall after my Daddy passed away, my two sisters and I realized that my Mother’s neglected rose garden had little chance of surviving unless someone took charge. Many of her bushes were over twenty five years old, and were past their prime. However, quite a few of them were salvageable. We immediately thought of Tracy, and she rose (no pun intended!) to the challenge. Last fall, she began the painstaking process of transplanting the bushes into large buckets for the transition to her garden.
Although a few of the bushes were unable to be sustained in the frigid winter that hit northeast Mississippi, she was quite successful in ensuring the survival of some beautiful specimens. I photographed her gorgeous garden a couple of months ago.
Images of Elina are shown below.
Tineke, on of my Mother’s favorites, often won awards at the Northeast MS Rose Society’s annual show.
“I had my first garden when I was 16. I planted at least ten different rows of annuals in a horseshoe shape and it was a glorious riot of color. I grew everything from seed. I have never had such a wonderful array of color since. I have always enjoyed growing things. I think your mother saw the joy that I experienced when she brought me buckets of roses when we had our bridge days etc. ”
I love the unexpected pop of color that Tracy achieved by adding golden merigolds to her rose beds!
More favorites that Tracy has cultivated over the years . . .
Joseph’s Coat, a majestic climbing rose, takes center stage on an iron trellis.
Tracy has a unique gift for incorporating statuary, contrasting plant textures, whimsical garden implements, and vibrant containers into elegant outside sitting areas that beckon you to linger and absorb the beauty..
Tracy, the consummate hostess and gourmet cook, served an elegant lunch using seasonal produce from her uncle’s garden on a table laden with her gorgeous garden gifts.
“I guess she knew how much I loved her roses because I made them my focal point when I had a party. I know she did not pick me for my growing skills, but rather the pure joy that I experience from looking at the roses. I have been thinking about why your mother took a special interest in me.”
This Mississippi garden has definitely come full circle in every respect. The roses that Tracy transplanted from my Mother’s garden provide a living testimony to a friendship that was initiated by a love for gardening. And, best of all, a new friendship has ensued since my parents passed away. How pleased my Mother would be to know that her legacy is being carried on.
This quote by Beverly Rose Hopper beautifully compares the gifts of gardening and friendship: “Out of gardens grow fleeting flowers but lasting friendships”.