The Latest Tale in the Story Garden

Dear Reader:

Each morning when I check the garden…I half-expect to see a book by each plant…because every flower, plant, and tree has its own story to tell.

Every time a day lily pops up…I remember Anne and myself planting those bulbs in the fall that first year…they all belonged to Harriett Edwards who was a great crusader, floral philanthropist, and supplier of the initial story garden. I think of you Harriett every spring as the day lilies shine their magic. Yesterday the first day lily opened its eyes and smiled…the lilies are still growing strong…the most beautiful scenery is soon to be spread throughout the garden.

For every plant or flower I have planted…others of YOU have planted one too….my rose bush ladies, hanging basket ladies, and floral pot ladies throughout the garden. Then there is the YaYa bench by the fountain, solar lights, pottery plaques by Honey, all kinds of ornaments and decorations from so many of you!

In reality this isn’t Boo’s Garden at all…it really is the Story Garden…because so many people have contributed and authored each story from  its creation until present time.  Your names are written in the blooms and decor year after year after year.

The idea of planting Moon flowers definitely was created by and with Anne’s help since I wasn’t even familiar with them…*I loved the year they bloomed around the magic garden moon gate.

The most recent tale from the story garden left me with a tear and a smile on my face. I got home from Rutledge’s soccer game Saturday afternoon and there were at least six pots of transferred Stokes Asters sitting on the porch.They looked thirsty and as I was watering them I first noticed a white envelope in the door.

Sam and Donna left me a story in a letter with memories connecting our families through their gift of the Stokes Asters. I will never look at these plants without remembering Sam and Donna …and the story.

Here is just an excerpt…because part of it I just want to keep in my memory lock box for those rainy days that come.


These are for your garden should you choose to use them. (Are Sam and  Donna kidding…of course I am going to use them, talk to them, and love them.) They are Stokesia or Stokes Asters. 

I was given a few of them by a friend who has since passed on. He gave them to me in the Spring before Mandy and Dana graduated from high school. On the afternoon of their graduation the flowers were in full bloom for a “graduation get together” that our family had at the house. Since that time I have preferred to think of them as “Graduation Day Flowers.”

(In the last part of the story Sam and Donna reminded me the asters  bloom in May (around graduation time.) They are “prolific and hardy” so they spread easily. Their last hope is that the daisy blooms remind me of my former students, now adults… a symbolism of the relationships, once formed, that last a lifetime. There is more but I can’t get through it without a tissue). Again…this special letter is a  keepsake for all times.

Sam and Donna’s oldest daughter, Dana and my oldest child, Mandy were in the same class and remained friends throughout their school years…ending up at Sam and Donna’s home for their graduation party.

As luck would have it…Mandy was at my house this past Saturday afternoon before we met Doodle and Carrie at Five eat supper before the play. I was able to show her the letter.Mandy smiled remembering that wonderful night after graduation…all the fun their little group had…even while the reality of approaching separation in their lives took form in their minds…and hearts.

Today Sam and Donna are my back door neighbors but they will always be my front door friends. Thank you from the bottom of my heart you two!

So until tomorrow…Sometimes the best storytellers have a stem and a bloom and live in a garden.

Here are some more additions popping up in the garden and yard…

*I literally ran into the house following church Sunday (to change clothes) so I could get the Stokes Asters planted before the rains came. My guardian angel, J.D., friend of my neighbor Luke, was hard at work repairing and rebuilding the steps and deck to the apartment over the garage. He is amazing…and I am so grateful he can help me catch up on some much needed, overdue, construction repairs. *Thus my safe aerial view of the garden yesterday!:)

*The strong winds we have endured for the past few days literally took the old fence propped up by the garage (with  the state flower- yellow jessamine- growing on it)…out and down. It was ripped away by the force of nature and left lying in the dirt. Powerful gusts!


But then there are other kinds of “air” breezes….like love being in the air…go Tigger!


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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5 Responses to The Latest Tale in the Story Garden

  1. honey burrell says:

    The blog was especially touching this morning. Donna and Sam are two of the kindest and warmest people I have ever known. Your garden is truly a beautiful story with exceptional illustrations! Have a beautiful day! Love you lots, Honey

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. bcparkison says:

    Friendship plants are the best and seem to grow better than something bought .


  3. Jo Dufford says:

    When one is a storyteller as you are, there is a beautiful story in everything you see, feel or hear. Today was an exceptionally touching blog. I, too, have always thought Sam and Donna were like cream on the milk (You see,I remember when the cream rose to the top of the milk and separated itself from the rest). I do not have a green thumb, but I believe I just might trying planting some of those Stokes Asters. Looking forward to Thursday.


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