Silvana Rausa no longer wants to keep up the beds at the Leflore County Courthouse. The Greenwood Garden Club was asked to step in, but unfortunately we already have quite a few gardens we take care of and the courthouse is a large high-maintenance garden. We all were anticipating a huge uproar over our proposals, and that’s exactly what we got.
Volunteers are hard to find, and gardens take a great deal of dedication, much of it in the hottest part of the year. Today most people want a low-maintenance garden. They don’t want to spend all Saturday cutting back last year’s growth, weeding, spreading mulch, cutting back spent blooms on perennials, watering, fertilizing and pruning, to mention a few tasks. The people who love gardens have gardens and don’t need another one.
Mrs. Rausa was different. She wanted to spread her flowers everywhere, but even she got worn out. If Shaking My Head would like to take on the job, I’m sure Mrs. Rausa would love to teach all she knows.
The courthouse is a public building, and the grounds of the courthouse are likewise public spaces. In many towns, the courthouse square is in the center of town. It is a meeting place, and it’s used for festivals, even markets on special days. Ours is seldom used in this manner for one reason. There is no room.
As much as I adore magnolias, they are not shade trees that you can walk under or place a bench under. Magnolias are grand Southern ladies with huge hoop skirts that go to the floor. The magnolia that should be removed is only one of many magnolias on the grounds of the courthouse, but it was planted too close to the sidewalk. Even though we don’t use the steps of the court-house very often, we do try to have a ceremony once in a while, including turning on the lights at the courthouse at the beginning of every Christmas season.
The front lawn is very cramped, and removing the magnolia would alleviate the problem. It would also allow us to be able to see all of the front of one of the prettiest buildings in Greenwood.
Landscapes are not static. Trees always get bigger than we plan. Everyone has probably planted a little tree only to realize 15 years later that it is way too close to the house.
The courthouse was not planted by a famous landscape architect. It is not a historic garden. It was most likely planted by someone in the garden club 75 years ago. I’m sure she couldn’t possibly imagine how much trouble her fellow garden clubbers were going to get into when she planted that magnolia!