Although we have had a few chilly nights, some of my spring planting is well under way. I am not a farmer type, my veggie area is limited to hot peppers most years. I love my flowers and here in our mountains they will grow like crazy with little help. As I see the Cherokee Princess Dogwood trees beginning to get its summer leaves, I know the frost is all but done. For a while I tried to find out why Dogwoods all seem to have names that include Cherokee but I never did find a connection to the People.
Another tell tale sign for me is the Cherokee Rose. As it begins to climb and fill in, I know spring is here and I can start putting in the hardiest of my annuals. Living in a forest can be a challenge. Everyone thinks you have vast amounts of sunshine but that is not the reality. You “create” sunny spots. I have an area that is at the top of the road and rather wide so I have 2 places that I can plant the bright sunny local perennials. My daylilies, daisies, black eyed Susans, cone flowers and Jasmines love these areas and it is also where I nursery my potted mums. I have a wagon and it is full of the mums from years that will be the fall colors for the garden.
What I do have an abundance of is shade! When the trees fill out, only dappled areas remain but they too can be fun. We all think Hosta when we think shade but so much more can be done in those areas. In the center of the shade bed are Hostas and a large pot full of Bleeding hearts. Begonias are a favorite of mine because getting them in literally dozens of varieties can be done in just a short week of checking out local nurseries. Also they part of this weeks planting as they are pretty hardy. I even have a fern bed that is all put together from the different types transplanted from right here on our mountain. They mix well behind hosta too.
I digress a little here as I wanted to tell you a story of faith this Easter weekend. During the last part of 1838 Cherokee People were forced to leave their homes. They began the journey of the Trail of Tears right here in our N. Georgia mountains. We can imagine but never know the anger, sadness and fear that went on the journey with them.
Every nation that has ever faced this type of relocation has the fear that their race will not survive. The People were no different, they knew the women had to be strong to save the children, as that was the hope for their future.
Legend tells us that one night at the campfire the Elders called upon the Heaven Dweller, The Great One in Heaven (I have seen him called by many names in these stories) to see the mothers tears and help them be strong. The great one replied to the Elders with a promise to help the women keep faith and strength. He said “In the morning, tell the women to look back along the trail. Where their tears have fallen, I will cause to grow a plant that will have seven leaves for the seven clans of the Cherokee. Amidst the plant will be a delicate white rose with five petals. In the center of the blossom will be a pile of gold to remind the Cherokee of the white man’s greed for the gold found on the Cherokee homeland. This plant will be sturdy and strong with stickers on all the stems. It will defy anything which tries to destroy or displace it.”
As the legend goes, every time a tear hit the ground, a rose, the “Cherokee Rose”, grew in that place.
My takeaway from this story is the amazing faith the People showed even during a time of tragedy. This year seemed a good time for my Cherokee Roses to begin to fill in and show new trailers the week of our Easter.
May God Bless you and yours. Travel safe and thank you for spending a few moments with us this week.
Welcome to the Mountains