Welty on Wednesday – Crape Myrtles

Miss Welty’s mother, Chestina, was an active member of  the Woman’s Club of Jackson where her main interests were gardening and conservation.  Quoted in the Clarion Ledger Chestina showed interest beyond home gardening –  she also dreamed of “a glorious highway, planted on either side with colorful Crepe Myrtles, the Club flower.”   In fact, the Garden Lover’s Group of the Woman’s Club assisted with the planting of Crape Myrtles along Jackson streets where they continue to bloom today.

References to Crape Myrtles pop up in many of Miss Welty’s writings and she wrote about them in her correspondence with friends.  In a letter to John Robinson in July of 1945 she wrote, “The whole town is glowing with crape myrtles.  The loveliest are the shell pinks, to me now and those big trees at the old Manship place on Fortification and West are like the flowering trees in Kubla Khan – a wonderful year this year for all flowering things.  About the time the sun goes down they all fill with light (the crape myrtles)  and keep it, after other things lose color and substance…”

After I read that, of course I headed right over to the Manship House…

Manship House

Charles Henry Manship was the mayor of Jackson during the Civil War.  Having been born in Maryland and trained as an ornamental painter he was attracted to Jackson in the 1830s when there was a building boom.  He worked at the State House – now the Old Capitol and also had a shop selling wallpaper and paints.

His talent as an ornamental painter is evidenced throughout the house which is now open as a museum.

Miss Welty was right, the crape myrtles were in full bloom…

Manship House and Crepe Myrtles

the trees there are enormous…

Manship House and Crepe Myrtles

laden with blooms…

Manship House and Crepe Myrtles

creating shady pathways…

Manship House and Crepe Myrtles

As one of you so kindly pointed out when I was lamenting the lack of lilacs in my garden – we have the summer lilacs, the crape myrtles!

Like 1945, this has been a “wonderful year this year for all flowering things”…

Manship House and Crepe Myrtles

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  1. Kandy Sims says:

    I love your blog!! Thanks for the pretty pictures and the informative text!! Lovely!!

  2. Sarah Buford Goodwyn says:

    If ever anyone doubted that dogs DO smile, they just need to see that picture!!!! He or she looks so happy it made ME smile! Love the pink crape myrtles and white fence and house.

  3. I love crepe myrtles and have been photographing them all last week. I thought the entire post was wonderful, but when I saw that last picture of the happy pup, I almost fell out of my chair laughing! He (or she) is so cute!!! Thanks for the pretty scenes!

    • mnestorc@aol.com says:

      They are really beautiful and thanks to Chestina Welty they are everywhere in Jackson! Thanks for reading along!

  4. Gayle Royals says:

    Crape myrtles are one of my favorites, and they have finally started blooming here in the Richmond area. I enjoyed your photos so much. The dog is adorable—-which breed?

    • mnestorc@aol.com says:

      Hi Gayle, glad your crape myrtles have begun their bloom. That is a cute dog and I am not sure of the breed – will have to do a little research!