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Lower Garden

Welty Lower Garden

Screened by an arbor and trellis, this area was the more utilitarian section of the Welty garden. Eudora and her mother used the lower garden for growing roses, composting, and plant prorogation. The rose beds have been restored with heirloom varieties associated with Eudora's writings and the original garden.

Eudora Welty said that roses were her mother's favorite flower, and from the beginning of the garden in 1925 until the 1960s roses were grown in abundance in the sunniest part of the backyard. Here are early hybrid teas along with the climbers 'Lady Banks,' 'Fortune's Double Yellow,' and 'Dr. W. Van Fleet.'

Roses figure prominently in Eudora's prose, with references to both unknown "passalongs" ("Becky's climber" in The Optimist's Daughter), named varieties ('American Beauty,' 'Dainty Bess,' 'Lady Hillingdon,' 'Etoile de Holland,' and 'Radiance'), and old southern favorites like Seven Sisters, 'Marechal Niel,' 'Cecile Brunner,' and 'Maman Cochet.'

"Sienna-bright leaves and thorns like spurts of matchflame had pierced through the severely cut-back trunk. If it didn't bloom this year, it would next: 'That's how gardeners must learn to look at it,' her mother would say.

"Memory returned like spring, Laurel thought. Memory had the character of spring. In some cases, it was the old wood that did the blooming."

- The Optimist's Daughter

Chestina Welty in Rose Garden


Lower Garden Trellis

Photo by Langdon Clay