"...a garden should be a sanctuary...[it] should push back the wilderness and be an intimate place safe from lions and elephants, whatever was out there."
Recently, I had been in contact with a customer about stencils for her dining room. We got to e-chatting and I found that she lived in Charleston. As it happens, this year's SALI convention (July 21st-26th) is in Charleston which I happened to mention to our customer in case she would be interested in attending. I had also mentioned that Helen, who will be our representative and teaching at the convention, was thoroughly looking forward to visiting Charleston and hopefully some of the old houses to see their interiors.
At this point, my customer mentioned that she lived in the historical district in Charleston and that their garden was quite famous as her mother had written a book about it called "Mrs Whaley and her Charleston Garden". Having attended Vanderbilt University, I was well used to Southern charm and hospitality so I was intrigued enough to look this book up on Amazon. I only had to read a couple of sentences about it before I put it in my basket. I have just finished reading this book and I can only tell you what an absolute delight it is. Yes, it is mostly about the garden (and I am no gardener), but it is also full of anecdotes and recipes and general advice. It is a small book and would make the most excellent gift to any person who enjoys anything to do with gardens.
I have continued to correspond with Mrs Whaley's daughter, Marty (who is mentioned in the book as the artist and decorator of the family - wonderful) partly about how much I enjoyed the book, Helen's visit to Charleston and her decorating projects. She has kindly arranged for Helen to see the garden and possibly some others on the street which I know Helen will enjoy because she is the gardener of our family.
Marty also sent me photos of the finished dining room scheme we had first corresponded about which is just beautiful.
She has used IN48 Panel Pack to create the panels on the walls.
She has also used the border IN43 along the skirting board which is such an effective place to put a border stencil.
The stencilling was done in a pale brown on wonderful old linen coloured walls (my colour description, not the actual paint colour).
You can tell she is a gardener's daughter as she has seen and brought to the canvas all the wonderful and vibrant colours seen in flora.
I may not garden and I may not be able to identify many flowers or plants, but I do find the garden the most wonderful source of inspiration and yes, a place to be safe from the lions and elephants. Rachel