I was shopping in Senoia, Georgia (home of The Walking Dead) when I noticed all of the plants in one of the stores had names. I took photographs of the name tags and noticed a pattern – – they were all named for famous black women. I struck up a conversation with the owner behind the counter and learned that this shop was a local black-owned business. I enjoyed an added dimension of discovery as I thought of all the women who were being celebrated. It’s reassuring to see how far we have come as women over the past century, and I cheer minority women who have overcome obstacles and stayed the course all the way to success and smiles behind the counters of the businesses that they own today.
I’m taking this innovative idea of naming my fairy garden succulents, which will be the last picture in the lineup – with a fascinating history of the names that were selected for these tiny front porch gardens. First, here are 6 of the 17 pictures I took in the Greenhouse Mercantile, with links underneath to the women for whom each plant is named:
Earlier in the week, I shared my succulent garden and asked for help naming my new fairy gardens. Fellow blogger Fran Haley responded:
I would give one of these fairies a name from a baby’s gravestone I first saw when I was a child visiting my grandmother deep in the country (along the old dirt road, you know-). The name: Leafy Jean. I might name the other fairy Lacey Jane.
I loved the unique sounds of these sweet names with matching long vowels. I named the fairies Leafy Jean and Lacey Jane.
I wondered if I could find out a little bit of information about Leafy Jean, and so I looked on the Findagrave website and found the photo of this headstone for this baby girl “Gone Home”:
I’m betting this is the grave that Fran saw when she was with her grandmother. It’s located in Beaufort County, North Carolina in the Mixon Cemetery. Leafy Jean Wilson was born on a Sunday – Christmas Eve in 1916, two years after the Christmas Truce called between German and British Soldiers during World War II, when they set aside their differences and came together to play a game of soccer, wish each other Merry Christmas in their native tongues, and sing Christmas carols. The Christmas Truce came five months after the war began……and little Leafy Jean was five months old when she died on a Friday – June 22. I wondered at first if Leafy referenced an olive branch, a symbol of peace and goodwill, but looked it up and found that Leafy means “Relief.” In Hebrew baby names, the meaning of Jean is “Gift from God.” It’s a name of French origin, meaning “God is Gracious.” Leafy Jean had a brother named Leon Russell Wilson, who died when he was 1, one day shy of a full month after his sister, and less than a year prior to the outbreak of the Spanish Flu that started in February 1918.
My heart ached for these parents and these precious children.
I knew what I had to do.
I ran upstairs to the toy chest and fished out a few miniature figures. I explained to Lacey Jane that she would be moving to a different container, so we packed her fairy wands, her wishing well, and her other belongings for a journey to a new magical land.
We had to make room for Leon Russell to remain near Leafy Jean.
Thank you, Fran, for the creative names for these gardens. I will think of you as I water them and care for them! I’ll give an update on how they’re thriving on a Slice of Life Tuesday sometime this summer! Perhaps by then I will learn more history about these babies who now have a special place in my heart – and on my porch.