Magnolia, The Story of a Garden by
(306 Stories)

Prompted By The Garden

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Magnolia,  the Story of a Garden

After the war a young couple returned to New York from Charleston with their 2 year-old daughter and bought a house in the Bronx on the GI Bill.   (See Parkchester, Celebrate Me Home)


There was a wonderful grape arbor in the garden and the girl’s grandmother made wine with the grapes.

To remind them of Charleston the couple planted two magnolia trees,  one on each side of their front door,   and every year in early spring they waited for the first magnolias to bloom.

And they planted peony bushes,  and purple irises in a flower bed,  and tea roses all along the garden fence.

And there was a birdbath in the garden that the squirrels liked too.

Once the girl and her scout troupe had a ceremony in the garden and her father took home movies with his Bell & Howell camera.

A builder added an extension to the house,  and with a long carpenter nail the girl’s mother inscribed the year 1950 into the wet cement on the new cornerstone.   (See Mr Bucco and the Ginger Cat)

A few years later the girl pushed her new baby sister around the garden in her baby carriage.

And soon the girl’s baby sister pushed the family cat around the garden in her doll carriage.

Over the years a few more pussycats and one brown and white puppy dog played in that garden.  (See Fluffy, or How I Got My Dog)

And then one night when the girl was all grown up,  she lent her car to a young man who backed it out of the driveway and hit the garden fence.  (See Fender Bender)

She married him anyway.

– Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Family, Gardens, Bronx New York


  1. Laurie Levy says:

    I love your pictures, Dana. We used to have a magnolia tree in front of our house and we loved it. Sadly, it died suddenly one year.

  2. Marian says:

    Aw, this is sweet, Dana, and really chronicles your family’s life around that garden. Had a magnolia tree at a condo I rented years ago and loved it, but was grateful that I didn’t have to care for it.

  3. Suzy says:

    Dana, I love the way you did this story, like a children’s book, with short paragraphs interspersed with pictures. It would actually make a great children’s book, you should see about getting it published!

    I must confess that we used to have a big old magnolia tree, which was beautiful, but we eventually had it removed, because the roots were pushing up the driveway, making it all cracked and uneven, and the flowers were overwhelming our swimming pool filter.

  4. Sweetness! I love the idea of wanting to bring past places through the garden to the new place. Somehow “planting our place” is a way or making it our own!

  5. I love the poignancy of this story, Dee…so much said with so few words. Very effective, and very affecting. Brava!

  6. Betsy Pfau says:

    This is so evocative, Dana. The items in your garden connote the memories of your family, growing and changing within your household until you find your husband and leave the premises. Sweet and simple. I agree, magnolias are special. The Commonwealth Ave mall in the Back Bay are full of them and dogwood and the week or two when they are were in full blossom are just divine. I used to walk through there, convinced that this is what heaven looked like.

  7. As Suzy previously wrote, this story has the cadence and structure of a picturebook narrative. As a librarian, were you a children’s or young people’s librarian? I detect someone very familiar with that genre. I wished for even more details of the “characters'” life together.

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