When I was working on “The Writer’s Garden” for the April issue of Martha Stewart Living, I received a box in the mail from Susan Haltom, the garden designer and preservationist who spearheaded the rehabilitation of the Eudora Welty garden in Jackson, Mississippi. She had overnighted a bunch of Camellia japonica ‘Lady Clare’ to me. Camellias were a favorite of Eudora Welty’s and ‘Lady Clare’ continues to grow under her bedroom window today.
Eudora Welty’s mother Chestina used to overnight camellias to her by train when she was studying at Columbia University in New York City. “It was wonderful to be up there with the ice and snow, and these lovely tropical flowers would come,” recalled Welty in a 1994 interview. I couldn’t agree more. Outside my New York City window it was cold and the trees were bare, but inside the box was pure garden joy. Thank you, Susan!
Melissa Ozawa is a senior editor at Martha Stewart Living. Garden books, poetry, and old British mysteries inspire her. She seeks out gardens wherever she travels.