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Upper Garden

Welty Upper Garden

Photo by Langdon Clay

The upper garden, designed by Eudora's mother, Chestina, is an artful extension of the Welty home. This "garden room" provided the family stimulating views from the house, a private place to relax and entertain, and cut flowers year round. Sharing flowers and seeds with friends and neighbors was part of their everyday life.

Eudora loved bulbs, both large and small flowered, and the upper garden is filled with them. She collected French Roman hyacinths, zephranthes, and many daffodils (Welty called the below right variety "Presbyterian Sisters, because they hang together"), ordering them both from established nurseries and from farm women who advertised in the Mississippi Market Bulletin.

 

Upper Garden French Roman Hyacinths Upper Garden Daffodils

Photos by Susan Haltom

Crinums, dahlias, Easter lilies, jonquils, montbretia, ornithogalum, oxalis, oxblood lilies, spider lilies, rain lilies (zephranthes) and tuberoses are among the bulbs and corms the Weltys planted.

Chestina designed a mixed border to include flowers blooming in succession. Early tall bearded irises formed the backbone of this early garden, including 'Dauntless,' 'Indian Chief,' and 'Souvenir de Madame Gaudichau,' in addition to the 'old cemetery whites,' Iris albicans.

 

Upper Garden Irises

Photo by Susan Haltom

"Beds - no. Borders - yes."
(Notation in Chestina Welty's garden journal)

 

Upper Garden DayliliesIn front of the irises Chestina planted daylilies, both species and early hybrids, which were typically yellow or orange, fragrant, and taller than today's hybrids. Chestina hybridized some herself and also brought back daylilies from visits to the Mississippi coast and Bellingrath Gardens in Alabama.

Welty daylilies growing in the garden today include the following: 'Hyperion,' 'Ophir,' 'Calypso,' Lemon lily or Hemerocallis liliosaphodelus, 'Apricot,' 'Wau-bun,' and others.

Photo by Susan Haltom