Garden Opens to Public
restored southern garden
For over sixty years Eudora Welty
wrote stories and novels and tended her garden at 1119 Pinehurst Street in Jackson.
At her death she left her home to the state of Mississippi. On April 3-5, the
Mississippi Department of Archives and History will open to the public the Welty
House garden-restored to its former and highest glory, the period of 1925-1945,
when the garden was cared for by both Eudora and her mother, Chestina Welty.
In the opening celebration, "A Garden Reborn," guests are invited to tour the
restored garden and to attend special programs at the Old Capitol Museum, the
Old Capitol Inn, and the William F. Winter Archives and History Building.
Eudora Welty House is projected to open as a literary house museum in 2005, after
the house has been brought up to museum standards.
garden is born
Chestina Welty, Eudora's mother,
planned the Pinehurst Street garden when the family built their new home in 1925
in Jackson's Belhaven neighborhood (now a historic district). That year
Eudora graduated from Central High and left for college. At the death of her father,
Christian Welty, in 1931, Eudora returned to Jackson from New York. As she began
work at two new jobs in Jackson, she also began to write her first stories. Through
these years, Eudora and her mother developed the three-quarter-acre lot into an
extensive garden, one typical of southern gardens of that time.
was my mother's yard boy.
its height, the Welty garden featured, in addition to the front yard, a rose garden
with a trellis, two arbors, an extensive perennial border, cutting garden, a woodland
garden, and a large camellia collection.
her mother's death in 1966, Eudora tended the garden herself, but she always referred
to it as "Mother's garden." Her readers know that Eudora Welty loved the garden
and was a knowledgeable gardener: the names of flowers and plantswild and
domesticof Mississippi abound in her fiction.
like the work in the yard, never get tired, and can think out there or maybe
garden is being restored to the period of 1925-45, when the garden best manifested
the vision the two women shared for it. Most gardens of that era were created
using locally available plants, but the Weltys mail-ordered plants and ordered
seeds from gardening catalogs or from farmers and gardeners who advertised in
the "Mississippi Market Bulletin."
garden consultant Susan Haltom conducted extensive interviews with Eudora Welty
about the garden's history. The accuracy of the restoration project has been made
possible in large part by Welty's extensive documentation and by her mother's
garden journals, which noted the layout of beds and bloom schedules. As a young
photographer, Eudora would climb out the window of the second-floor sleeping room
and take photographs from the roof; these photographs also provide documentation
of the garden for the project.
Notation, Chestina Welty's garden journal
Welty garden features more than thirty varieties of camellias, some of them grafted
by Eudora herself. Eudora and Chestina Welty shared these wintertime flowers with
friends in the snowy North, sending them cushioned blooms on the overnight train.
Welty loved bulbs, and the upper garden is filled with them. She collected zephranthes,
or rain lilies, surprise lilies, milk-and-wine lilies, spider lilies, and her
favorite, hyacinthus-French Roman hyacinths. Chestina created garden borders that
included day lilies, phlox, stokesia, Easter lilies, chrysanthemums, and jonquils.
Chestina's favorite flower, but they figure largely in Eudora's fiction, as well.
In the sunny lower garden are climbers such as Silver Moon, Lady Banks, cl. Cecile
Brunner, cl. American Beauty, Dr. W. Van Fleet, as well as a number of early twentieth-century
hybrid tea roses.
lower garden and cutting garden furnished blooms and greenery for indoors. In
the cutting garden the Weltys planted annuals, both in fall for springtime blooms
and in spring for summer-hollyhocks, snapdragons, larkspur, ragged robins, zinnias,
cosmos, and many others.
from the edge of the lower garden to the back of the property is the woodland
garden, with mature pines and hardwoods towering over more camellias, spider lilies,
and oxblood lilies. The back border of the Welty garden is a thick canebrake planted
by Chestina Welty.
Garden Reborn" Events
a.m. - 5 p.m.
Garden tours, Eudora Welty House
Each visitor during the garden opening will receive a garden guide, a
commemorative bookmark, and a packet of heirloom flower seeds.
to 11:30 a.m
Presentations, House Chamber, Old
Art of Gardening: Chestina and Eudora Welty, 1925-1945 Suzanne Marrs, Eudora
Welty Foundation scholar-in-residence, Millsaps College
The Room with
a View: Preserving Eudora Welty's Very Special Place Robert Parker Adams,
Curtains of Green: Restoring the Welty Garden
Susan Haltom, garden restoration consultant
tours, Eudora Welty House
Chisholm Lindsey Lecture in Landscape Design
By James R. Cothran, landscape
architect/garden historian 3 p.m., House Chamber, Old Capitol Lecture is free
of charge; to purchase a ticket that includes a buffet luncheon and a reserved
seat ($60), call the Crosby Arboretum, 601/799-2311. Space is limited.
Oxford Conference for the Book, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Southern
Culture, University of Mississippi, and Square Books of Oxford, moves to Jackson
for two additional days: April 4 and 5 programs, cosponsored by the Center and
by MDAH, are open to the public without charge. (To register, go to the Oxford
Conference for the Book registration form on the
Center's site. Programs are free; the dinner is $50 per person.)
6 p.m. Cocktails and dinner, Old Capitol Inn, 226 North State St.
p.m. Lecture, Old Capitol Inn
Welty: Life and Achievements Peggy Prenshaw, 2003-2004 Eudora Welty Chair,
Reading from Welty's story "The Petrified Man" John Maxwell,
Jackson actor and playwright
a.m. - 5 p.m.
Garden tours, Eudora Welty House
Conference for the Book programs
a.m., Orientation Room, William F. Winter Building, 200 North St.
Tour of Reading Room and Discussion of Welty Collection, H. T. Holmes, MDAH
Archives and Library director;Suzanne Marrs, Eudora Welty Foundation scholar-in-residence,
Millsaps College; Forrest Galey, MDAH special projects officer
a.m., Orientation Room
Programming at the Eudora Welty House, Patti Carr Black, former director,
Old Capitol Museum, author of Art in Mississippi, 1720-1980, and curator
of numerous exhibits on Eudora Welty
p.m. High school art students in the Jackson Public Schools Academic and Performing
Arts Complex, will visit the Welty garden and sketch plants as part of a larger
study on Welty.
more information on all events, call 601/ 576-6998.
Eudora Welty working
in rock garden, c. 1940. All photographs courtesy Eudora Welty, LLC.
1100 block of Pinehurst Street will be closed for the three-day garden opening
celebration. Belhaven College is graciously allowing Welty House visitors to park
in the college parking lots on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, parking will be
available on Riverside Drive; a shuttle will run from there to the Welty House.
to Belhaven Neighbors
Wednesday, March 31, all Belhaven residents are invited to preview the Eudora
Welty House garden from 2 to 4 p.m., free of charge. Reservations are required.
For more information, call the Greater Belhaven Foundation, 601/ 352-8850.
National Endowment for the Arts awarded a $10,000 grant to the Department of Archives
and History to be used for the three-day celebration of the opening of the Eudora
Welty House garden.
that have provided support to MDAH for the Eudora Welty House garden include
- Belhaven College
Home and Garden Club
Club of Jackson
Iris Preservation Society
Jackson Council of Garden Clubs
League of Jackson
Hills Garden Club
Jay Smith to Visit Garden
William Jay Smith, a longtime friend of Eudora Welty, will attend the opening
of the Welty House garden and will give a public reading at the Leggett Center,
Millsaps College, at 7:30 p.m. on April 6.
Thanks 2003 Donors to the Eudora Welty Foundation
Aldridge, John E.
Alta Raymond Garden Club
Anklam, Fred and Cissy
Cross & Blue Shield
Collier, John and Barbara
Craig, David Cobb
Gertrude C. Ford Foundation
Green, Mary Sydney
Greenville Garden Club
Hunter, Jo Ann
of Garden Clubs
Randy and Paula |
Jefcoat, Michael and Evelyn
Marden, Mary Carrol
McMullan, Jim and Madeleine
Mike and Judy
Moore, Jim and Betty
O'Neill, John and Anne
Rhoden, Tom and Sharon
Schaffer, Gorman and
Sherwood Garden Club
Sumner, Jim and Ward
Taylor, Jan and
The Chisholm Foundation
Trustmark National Bank
White, Mary Alice and Donny