Thursday, February 1, 2007
Beautiful trees that line the city
I think Holly Springs is so beautiful but in the wintertime we are lacking that green element. Everybody needs to plant their favorite evergreen tree to brighten up our town. The state flower is the magnolia, which is great, but it takes a long time for them to grow. We want our grandchildren to have beauty too.
Donald Randolph came by the Museum and brought a magnolia leaf two feet long that grows here. Now, that would be unique. It is the largest leaf magnolia in the world and is magnificent with blossoms that are as large as dinner plates.
Don’t you love tree-lined streets rather than ones that are stark and bare? Trees soften the beauty that needs to be there. Think about it and Arbor Day in February would be a good time to plant them.
The cedars in front of Wakefield and Norfleet-Rand House were brought as seeds in someone’s pocket from the Carolinas. The lonesome pine (named Virginia as she is from Virginia, she’s a Virginia pine) in front of the Baptist Recreation building used to be in front of Franklin Female Institute and it has been gone a hundred years! Only the pine remains. If it could speak, it could tell a story.
The largest bodoc tree in Mississippi is on the south side of Van Dorn right past the Catholic Church. The bodoc tree produces big green horse apples. It is the hardest wood on earth and is like concrete; it will bend a nail if you tried to hammer into it. It used to be used for fences and as such was planted in a row close together. It is supplied with tremendous thorns that keep in, or out, animals of any sort. It is a native of France.
There is a bamboo forest in Mike Lynn Park that was planted there a hundred years ago by Oscar Johnson. Mr. Johnson ordered exotic plants from all over the world for the park but didn’t live to see the park completed. When Michael went in there last year and started clearing a hundred years of growth, these exotic plants popped up as they had been in hibernation for a hundred years.
In the middle of Lynn Park is a three- or four-hundred-year-old cypress tree about one hundred feet tall that’s the largest in the state.
I can imagine the Indians meeting around that cypress tree and if it could talk, it could tell a great tale. Lots of boats and fences are made of cypress, as it isn’t supposed to rot. It’s one of my favorite trees. In the fall the lacy greenery on the trees turn orange and then in winter it is beautifully bare.
We used to have a boulevard on Van Dorn Avenue from the Square nearly to the depot. It was ripped away when that street was made a highway. However, now it isn’t a highway anymore and the traffic isn’t so awful, so now we need the boulevard back to make Holly Springs beautiful! We need to leave a legacy of beauty, not ugliness because we are selfish and thinking of now and not the future.
The beautiful linden trees in front of the public school and elsewhere were planted by General Williamson when he was the mayor of our town. He was the only man in town who was born in the Hermitage when his folks were visiting Rachael and Andrew Jackson. Imagine! The linden tree seeds are unique as they have wings on them to fly away to a distant spot. It is the first tree to lose its leaves in August and I always worry that maybe they are dying but they aren’t.
There are three or four wonderful trees in town that are tacus trees, which are Yew trees and they don’t usually grow here, as they usually prefer a northern climate. It is an English tree and requires lots of water, but since Holly Springs is located over an underground river, it seems to thrive through the heat of this place. One of the tacus trees was planted as a tombstone in the Hill Crest Cemetery in memory of the rector who died by a gunshot wound in the Episcopal foyer on Christmas Eve of 1866. I planted one in my yard years ago and it is now two feet tall. I’m sure I won’t be here to see it be a big tree but that’s life and I hope somebody else can enjoy it.
Some trees are memorial trees around the courthouse. The deodora is a dream of a tree, which has been there about sixty years, but the memorial has dissipated as time moved on. Nobody remembers what we are supposed to remember. I love those double persimmon trees on the north side of the courthouse. They are so beautiful all year. Persimmons are so delicious, unless they are green, then they turn your mouth wrong side out. There used to be a memorial tree on south courtyard that was a buckeye tree, the Ohio State tree, but it died and, again, why it was planted or in whose memory we don’t remember.
In the 1840’s, the founding fathers decided that Holly Springs needed another new industry and it should be a silk industry, so they imported mulberry trees and the silk worms from China. It didn’t work out but that explains why the big mulberry trees are around town. The Tyson family gave us the bolt of silk that was grown here, at the time Mrs. Tyson, thought it was too beautiful to cut and saved it. Now we have it on exhibit at the Museum.
Another tree imported from China was the “empress” tree, sometimes called the paloma tree. In the spring it shows off outrageously as it has big clusters of purple flowers all over it and it’s a big tree. I imagine some tree salesman went door-to-door selling these trees over a century ago.
The glorious dogwood trees around town usher in the springtime. Some are white, some are pink. In the fall the leaves turn brilliant red and are glorious again. The legend of the dogwood tree says the Christ was crucified on the dogwood tree, which at that time was a large tree. After it was used for the crucifixion, the tree was small. Its blossoms are in the shape of a cross, the crown of thorns is in the center and on each of the four blossom petals is an indentation lined with blood from Christ’s hands and feet. It is a reminder about what happened to Christ 2007 years ago.
Super Bowl time is here again. I went to Super Bowl XI in Los Angeles. Before the game, NBC had a big party and I was walking along and bumped smack into Eva Gabor. I was elated to see her. She was so exquisitely gorgeous that I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was so gracious and acted just as glad to see me as I was to see her. She was trying to introduce me to her new husband but I couldn’t take my eyes off her. It was a thrilling experience that I will never forget. Incidentally, she and I were standing there chatting and I asked her what she did with her old clothes but don’t remember what she said. Too bad
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