Flowers: Messengers from the Past

Dear Reader:


Two summers ago when Anne and I went to Ireland we spent a lot of time at the Burren. One of the strangest places you will ever see. At first glance it looks like God just cleared out a huge plot of earth (and like a  little boy at play)….began happily throwing stones, rocks and boulders of every size down on it…covering every square yard of this “waste land.”

imageOnly it is not a “waste land”….it is eerily one of the most beautiful places in the world.

From a video on the Burren (we watched at The Perfumery images (2)close by) we discovered the origin of this unique piece of geography/real estate.

*The most important lesson learned from the video, however, was how life would not be forced out of this difficult terrain.

It crept in, in the form of hundreds of varieties of flowers, peeking their heads out in crevices through the rocks.

Flowers really are the messengers of the past.and Monday night this was evidenced over and over again by some of the ‘garden celebration guests’ who came bringing floral designs of every kind.


As different friends would surprise me with their flower, plant, or arrangement some would tell me the reason why they brought that particular flower. After several of these incidences I began to see a pattern playing out which I found quite interesting.

Several of the gifts had a personal connection to family members, some of whom are now gone, whose love of a certain flower or plant was passed down and now lives on in their memory.

Harriett Edwards: IMG_1540“The succulents came from Ed’s grandmother. She was a wonderful gardener. The day of her funeral, at age 97, every one of the lilies and irises on her casket came from her own yard. We used the “Hen and Biddies”  on the tables at Frankie’s wedding reception two years ago.  You were her History teacher in the eighth grade a few years ago.” 

(*Frankie was one of the sweetest students I ever taught…she recently married and has a precious little boy….so deserving of this happiness.)

Look how beautifully these succulents can be used in floral arrangements in a cement basket container and pot: Harriett sent these two photos she arranged and sit in her yard…such talent!.

IMG_1884 (1)IMG_1886 (1)

FullSizeRenderJo Dufford and Colby:    I know every time I look at these beautiful “knock out” roses (that they gave me) I will always remember the amazing relationship between this grandmother and grand-daughter .

It is a “knock out” connection in love.  I only hope I will be able to come close to the special relationship these two “women” share by blood and love with my grandchildren.

JO wrote:

My Mother had a green thumb and several of the most beautiful rose bushes ever.  I remember that on Mother’s Day, Mother would always pick a red rose and pin one on each of us.  Also I lived in Orangeburg for 5 years, and anyone who has not seen the rose garden there in early May should make that trip.  I would drive through the gardens on the way to school and on the way home each day just to see the array of colors that  God had painted on those hundreds of different bushes. The rose represents love, and Colby and I love and appreciate you. We enjoyed the tour of your garden and the party.

FullSizeRenderGin-g:  Gin-g told me “Becky…there is no connection to blue hydrangeas but my Mother told me one time I was like my grandmother Huggins who fixed flowers for Gardner Webb…Boiling Springs High School back then…flowers are just God’s way of showing His love to us…”

And that is what Gin-g does constantly….show her love with fresh flowers almost every time she stops by to visit….she knows how I love fresh flowers and blue hydrangeas bring back a special day for my daughter Mandy and me….her wedding day.

FullSizeRenderSue Anne: Sue Anne, too, chose a blue hydrangea arrangement and her love of these flowers stems directly from her father’s love of them. Near the end of his days, while he was in the hospital, Sue Anne’s mother would pick some and bring to his bedside table in his room at the hospital to cheer him up. These flowers had always been his favorite!

That particular year….the bushes produced more hydrangeas than ever before or since. The hospital staff, who adored him, always commented on his fresh hydrangeas and how beautiful they were which made him smile. After his death they sent blue hydrangeas to the funeral.

Later when Sue Anne’s mother died and her house sold, she got her son to go with her and pull up the hydrangea bushes so she would always have Dad’s favorite flower in her yard.

IMG_1562Dianne: Dianne and Gina are in my Sunday class but I didn’t know that Dianne is a “Master Gardener” and helps with arrangement at Magnolia Gardens. I have heard that professional flower arrangers think about the recipient’s personality before making an arrangement.

I think this must be true because as I studied every flower in the arrangement….I found myself smiling in delight….bright oranges yellow, reds, and pinks….bright colors of life….a love of life. Perfect! Thanks girls!

FullSizeRenderAnne: Anne arrived first carrying a tray of what she thinks is moon flower seedlings but it is so hard to tell this early…might be morning glories so she threw in a pack of moon flower seeds just in case. I can’t ever tell the leaves apart, early on, either.

Her love of flowering vines stems from her father she thinks. He was a doctor but loved working with plants in his spare time and his passion was flowering vines, especially passion plant vines. She has extended his interest and passion to other types of flowering vines.

When Anne got back from Charleston last night she sent this: “Dad mostly cultivated orchids but had this beautiful passion vine he was very proud of that grew up toward the top of the greenhouse attached to our house. He would cut off the blossoms as they came, and one of us would get to take it to our teacher.

  Dad made gardening seem effortless, although I know differently!  He would tell us he just “chucked” this or that in the ground and it would grow. He spent lots of time watering – I think that was when he got his quiet time, puttering in the greenhouse or out in the yard.” 


Isn’t it amazing how our loved ones, who came before us, leave such a large  footprint behind which we fill with continuing shared love and passion?

So until tomorrow….Flowers are the best keepsakes because we can’t keep them…only love them while they’re here…just like our family and close friends.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

IMG_1567*Even though this Easter lily (which just bloomed two days ago) has definitely delivered its message a little late…it is still the same message every day of the year “Christ the Lord is risen today.Hallelujah! 

And speaking of “Hallelujah” Libby’s medical tests came back  fine….no further treatment. Thanks for all the prayers!

IMG_0844 Brooke’s grandson Caleb is off to work with daddy…it’s a man thing you know.







About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Flowers: Messengers from the Past

  1. Ging Edwards says:

    Becky..Sue Ann and I kept trying to get her response to you but apparently her phone has an issue with your phone. She even tried using Messenger on FB but when I talked with her last she wasn’t sure you got it. We had company …or I would have driven to her house…gotten the story and then came to you.

    The article was so sweet today…


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I just got back from storytelling at OES and saw an envelope attached to my door and the letter inside from Sue Anne. I was in the ballpark with the story but am going to put her story in tomorrow’s blog….so every one can see what a talented writer she is…I kept getting Iphone notices that she had left a message on FB but then it never showed up….most bizarre thing I have ever encountered….I was so exhausted by late yesterday afternoon I had to close it out and let it be…(Needed to look over and dust off my memory for the stories today.) In the end direct communication…in person, wins out. Lesson to be learned here.


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