Down to Earth

An herbal wedding

| June/July 2001

  • Illustration by Gayle Ford

Romance blooms, even in the garden of a curmudgeon.

I answered the phone one day and heard a sweet voice on the other end. The young woman said, “I saw an article about your farm in Southern Living magazine some years ago and I kept the clipping.” She had kept the piece because she hoped to get married in my garden. “We really don’t do weddings,” I said, but she wasn’t to be deterred.

Her name was Jennifer, and she had seen the article while she was living in another state; she didn’t even have a boyfriend at the time. But she had decided that if and when she found her mate, they would tie the knot amidst the sage, rosemary, and thyme of my garden.

She was now a student at a nearby college, and she and her boyfriend, Hal, were planning their wedding. “It will be very small,” she said. “Maybe a dozen people, just our relatives. Can we come and visit and talk to you about it?” I reluctantly agreed.

Over the next months Jennifer visited several times. She wanted to embellish a few flowers from the florist with some fresh things from the herb garden. They planned to say their vows under my old bentwood gazebo in the center of the garden.

Despite my initial reluctance, I found myself tending the garden with the wedding in mind. I thought about how ivy, a traditional herb for weddings in previous times, would look good in her bouquet. It’s recognized in the language of flowers as the symbol of fidelity, constancy, and friendship.

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