A rose by any other name would have to be in Annette Bridge's garden.
The retired Lakeside High School teacher-turned-almost-full-time-gardener names her flowers for friends and relatives who give them to her. For example, the gardenias growing beside the garage are "Jewels," in honor of her mother, Jewel Hebbard of Hephzibah.
"She just loves to root things," Mrs. Bridges said during a tour of her garden at her home in Springlakes subdivision in Columbia County. "She rooted every one of those from a bloom out of her yard."
Just past the arbor that marks the entrance to the back yard is Uncle Charlie's hydrangea.
"My Uncle Charlie used to grow them in galvanized tubs in Milledgeville, Ga.," she said. "And this is one."
Uncle Charlie died about 15 years ago, and when his wife went into a nursing home five years later, Mrs. Bridges got one of the hydrangeas and planted it in the yard of a house she later sold. She would have taken Uncle Charlie with her right then, but it was too big, she said.
"I knew if I tried to take it, it would leave such a gaping hole," she said.
But to her surprise, the person who bought the house didn't want Uncle Charlie and dug it up and brought it to her.
Brenda Vaughn is both a sweet shrub and a relict trillium, named for the friend who gave them to her.
Mrs. Bridges' garden is several gardens in one, each named for a particular feature.
The bank where Uncle Charlie and the other hydrangeas grow is Fairy Garden.
A statue of St. Francis dominates St. Francis' Bistro on the slope across from Bunny's Time Square, a damp part of the yard where Brenda Vaughn, the relict trillium and an endangered pitcher plant thrive.
Walden's Pond, the garden pond in the corner, is surrounded by red Japanese maples, coral bells, astilbe, miniature gardenias, wild azaleas, yarrow, daisies, plumbago and native plants, such as hearts bursting with love.
"It has these little tiny flowers, and in the fall it has these little berries that pop open," she said.
The compost area hidden from view by elephant ears is Madam Trashheap, guarded by gnomes on a stump. And across the yard is Lilac's Lane, so named for the lilac bushes that grow there, and Cats Crossings, named for her three unique cats, Cinder, Rascal and Picasso, the keeper of the garden.
"He's the one you see go flying over a bush, and he comes out with frog legs hanging out of his mouth," she said. "I'm constantly grabbing him by the scruff of the neck and saying, 'No, you can't have the bird. The moles are the only things you can catch."'
Mrs. Bridges prefers native and old-fashioned plants, particularly if they have a sweet fragrance, such as her old blush rose that doesn't have to be sprayed.
"Fragrance is almost a requirement for me," she said.
That's the reason the rosa rugosa alba rose is one of her favorites, although the plant itself is not particularly attractive.
"It doesn't like to be sprayed or pruned," she said. "When it blooms in the spring, you walk by here, and the fragrance just knocks you over."
Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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