In the garden we have several heirloom plants. The wisteria growing on the pergola is from a cutting that still grows on a fence in Williamsburg, VA., planted there by Thomas Jefferson. The lavender Crape Myrtle’s were transplanted from Heather’s great-grandparents home, Miles Green, in the Williams community. The pink rosebush in the center of the rose garden has been in the family for seven (7) generations and goes back at least 140 years to our grandfather Green Berry Holder and his daughter Nancy Holder Couch. Nancy told my grandmother, Avis Couch Dempsey, that every time they moved, she would dig up the rose bush and take it with them. Part of it was transplanted to this spot in 2008.
The Greenhouse is built using the original windows from the Lockett House. The brick walls in the garden are from the Calvert-Daugette House in Jacksonville. There are a few bricks in the pathway that came from William Faulkner’s rose garden in Oxford, Mississippi that were removed during a renovation in 1996. Also, within the path are a couple of bricks from “Beauvoir”, the home of Jefferson Davis. These were salvaged from his home after Hurricane Katrina.
Family saga of the Nancy Holder Couch rose bush:
In 1873, Green Berry Holder and his family moved to Calhoun County from Cleburne County, Alabama. Nancy was twenty three years old at the time and she and her brother came a day ahead of the rest of the family who would follow in a small wagon train. Nancy and her brother had the task of cleaning up a log cabin the family had rented for the next year. Nancy also brought with her a rose bush. This rose bush was set out and survived the winter and summer months.
About a year later, Nancy married George Couch and she dug up the rose bush and moved it to their log cabin on what is now New Liberty Road. The rose bush thrived and later Nancy’s granddaughter, Avis Couch obtained a cutting from the bush and planted it at her father, Sam Couch’s house, also on New Liberty Road.
After Avis married Bernon Dempsey, she moved the rose bush to their house on Roy Webb Road. This was around 1950. Janda Dempsey Ledbetter and Patsy Dempsey later obtained part of the bush and they are now growing at their respective homes.
In 2008, I obtained a cutting from the bush and planted it a Fiddler’s Green. It is now growing in the garden at the rear of the house.
The rose bush has been in the family for seven (7) generations counting Ada and Ruby (at least 139 years).