Other Plant Favorites in the Old-Fashioned Southern Garden

Although gardeners—like mothers—shouldn’t admit to favorites, here are plants that make Alison Monaghan’s, fictional heroine of Carolina Reckoning, all-time favorite list.

moonvineMoon Vine

jacob's ladderJacob’s Ladder



Wood Hyacinths


vabluebellsVirginia bluebells




Lenten roses

For more gardening photos, visit http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.


Quilts Featured in Carolina Reckoning—Wedding Ring Quilt

A quilt that brought romance to the Great DepressionWR4

The motif of two interlocking rings can be traced as far back as fourth century Rome. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the interlocking gimmal ring was popular in Europe. One ring was worn by the man and the other by the woman during the engagement. At the wedding ceremony, the two rings were fitted together and worn thereafter by the wife. This design is thought to have been brought to America by German settlers in Pennsylvania in the 17th century and is seen on coverlets, pottery and other decorative arts of the colonial period. Early quilt versions were known as Friendship Knot, Endless Chain and Pickle Dish.

WR2The Double Wedding Ring pattern was first published in 1928. The pattern became extremely popular during the 1930s and 1940s. Prior to the 20th century, quilters appliqued the pieces onto solid fabric. But early 20th century quilters made the switch to piecing the entire quilt top. This quilt is not for the faint of heart nor the novice.

I’d like to make one of these for each of my daughters upon the occasion of their marriage. But as one elderly quilter—maybe the forerunner of Velma Jones from Carolina Reckoning—told me once, I should have started the quilts before my own marriage if I wanted to finish them in time for my daughters’ weddings.

WR3Anyone created a Wedding Ring quilt? Own one? Any tips for the rest of us?
Share your photo jpg and I’ll post pictures for blog readers to enjoy.

For more behind-the-scene photos, including quilts, visit http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.

The Quilts Featured in Carolina Reckoning—Grandmother’s Flower Garden

GFG1No surprise that this much-loved vintage quilt would be Alison’s personal favorite. This pattern has its origins in 18th and 19th century honeycomb or mosaic patterns. But the 20th century version became popular in the 1920s and especially during the years of the Great Depression. Quilters in hard economic times, like today, were able to utilize the pastel prints of their scrap basket to fashion this labor intensive but lovely old-fashioned design.

GFG2The colorful handsewn hexagons are a cheerful reminder of happier times and sunny flower gardens. Many quilt historians speculate the traditional white hexagons that buffer the bright “blooms” represent white picket fences. Green was readily available and often served as the binding and symbolized the garden path. The six-sided hexagons contain a center—sometimes yellow—representing the flower’s center.

Trivia quiz—What event at Weathersby involved a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt? What happened?

Anyone have Grandmother’s Flower Garden photo they’d like to share?GFG3

Your own creation, an antique/yard sale find or heirloom?

Please send me a jpg of your quilt and I’ll post them on the blog for everyone to enjoy.

For more info on Carolina Reckoning or to see behind-the-scene photos including quilts, visit http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.

The Quilts Featured in Carolina Reckoning—Feedsack Quilts

fs1After the Civil War, cotton sacks replaced barrels as food containers. Women discovered these fabric bags could be used for quilts and clothing needs. The product logos were printed on the fabric. These circular advertisers harkened back to the day when marketing had to fit on a circular barrelhead.

FS3For women to use the feedsack fabric, they first had to remove these labels. Various methods included soaking the print in kerosene or rubbing it with unsalted lard. Afterward, the fabric was washed in lye soap. By 1925, savvy businesses began to see the marketing potential of the feedsack fabrics and pasted company logos on to the fabrics resulting in easier removal.

The 1930s saw heated competition between companies for the most attractive and sought after prints. Artists were hired to design the prints. This marketing ploy kicked in as women scoured store shelves, selecting sugar, rice, beans, cornmeal, animal feed and fertilizer based on the fabric stash they wished to acquire.

FS2Women, being women, traded feedsacks with neighbors in order to match fabrics for projects. The feedsack tradition continued through World War II as a means of showing patriotism and to conserve resources needed for the war effort. Newer synthetic fabrics created after the war resulted in the cessation of this marketing tool.

How can you tell if it’s really feedsack fabric?
A line of holes is the best indicator, from the chainstitching that held the original sack together.

Anyone remember a dress or apron made from feedsack fabric?
Anyone want to share a photo of a feedsack quilt?

Send me a jpg of your feedsack creation—clothing or quilt—and I’ll post to blog readers.

For more info on Carolina Reckoning or to see behind-the-scene photos including quilts, visit http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.

Perennial Plant Recommendations for the Southern Garden

Landscape designer, Alison Monaghan—fictional heroine of Carolina Reckoning—lists her favorite perennials for the old-fashioned Southern garden.

artemesiaSilver Mound ArtemisiaAremisia schmidtiana—Zone 3-6
Full sun, poor soil. Lacy mound contrast with rest of perennials, especially white/blue combinations.





AstilbeAstilbe arendsii—Zone 4-9
Summer blooming, ethereal plumes. Light shade. Colors galore.astilbe






Blue false indigoBaptisia australis—Zone 3-9
Full sun to part shade, early summer. Old fashioned appropriate for informal or formal garden.

Bleeding heartDicentra spectabilis—Zone 2-9heart
Mid spring, heart-shaped pink and white flowers dangle from arching stems. Part shade. Blue green foliage. Love, love, love it.

gasplantGas plantDictamnus albus—Zone 3-8
Little known old-fashioned specimen, extremely long lived. Full sun. Never disturb once plant in location. Lemon scented foliage.

Obedient PlantPhysotegia virginiana—Zone 2-9obedientplant
Late summer blooming. So named because bent stems remain “obedient” to that direction. Alison says Claire might could learn something from this plant. I’m not repeating what Claire said in response to that. Great in informal setting.

balloonBalloon FlowerPlatycodon grandiflorus—Zone 3-8
Summer blooms, light shade in South, interesting “balloon shaped” buds. Children find it interesting as do most other gardener types like Alison.

Black-eyed SusanGoldsturm rudbeckia—Zone 3-9susan
Full sun. Easy care. Southern nickname, a black-eyed or brown-eyed Susan for someone like Alison. Brown eyes with blond hair.

What’s your favorite perennial?

For more plant recommendations and photos, see http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.

August 21—Hawaii Joins the Union

HI1Carolina Reckoning has a Hawaiian connection in the storyline. And today, we’re celebrating all things Hawaiian.

Because oHIn August 21, 1959 Hawaii joined the Union and became the 50th state.

And aren’t we so very glad?

Here’s to hula, surfing, volcanoes, and ukeleles. Kona coffee, plumeria, Hawaii Five-0, and green sea turtles.

HI3Happy Birthday, Hawaii—Hau`oli la Hanau—to you.

What do you love about Hawaii?Hawaii2

Kona Coffee—Alison’s beverage of choice in Carolina Reckoning

Kona1aIn Carolina Reckoning, fictional heroine Alison Monaghan drinks: Pepsi-Cola, sweet tea or Kona coffee.

In fact, her friends and loved ones accuse her of having a Kona coffee addiction. What makes Kona coffee so special? Here’s the facts—kona1

Kona coffee (Coffea Arabica) originated in the Kona districts of the Big Island. Only coffee cultivated in the Kona district can bear the appellation of “kona”. As one of the most expensive coffees in the world, the coffee plants require sunny mornings, cloud-cover or rainy afternoons, protection from wind and temperate nights. The mineral-rich soil of the volcanic Hawaiian island also creates the flavorable, aromatic taste.
konaThe first coffee plant was brought to the Kona region in 1828 by the Reverend Samuel Ruggles. An English merchant, Henry Nicholas Greenwell, further pioneered and established the Kona coffee brand on the Big Island. His Greenwell Store and the Kona Coffee Living History Farm are museums today.

In the beginning, Kona coffee was grow on large plantations, but after the coffee market crash of 1899 (yeah, who knew?), plantation owners leased the land to their imported Japanese work force. The immigrants, brought to Hawaii for the sugarcane industry, worked the small, family coffee farms. The tradition of family Kona coffee farms continue today among their Japanese, Filipino and mainland American descendants. Over 800 Kona coffee farms are still in operation, farms of less than five acres.

Who remembers why Kona coffee was Alison’s favorite? What was the significance of this choice?kona2
What is your favorite brand of coffee?

For more photos of Carolina Reckoning, visit http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.


Weathersby House and Grounds—Carolina Reckoning

CarolinaReckoningCoverThis is how Weathersby Historic Park looks—at least in my imagination. Click here.
Weathersby House and Grounds

Is this how you imagined it?

For more behind-the-scene photos of Carolina Reckoning, visit http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.

The Weathersby Fashion Ball—Carolina Reckoning

What costume would you have worn to the Weathersby Ball?

fashion1Dinner and Dancing, anyone?




fashion2Couture by Claire.




fashion3aNot every man could carry off this look.




As my grandfather used to say, “Too little at the top and bottom.”fashion4




fashion5Vintage World War II.




Guess who?fashion6



fashion9A roll call of debutante and military history.




History of America According to Winnie.fashiontoga



Trivia quiz—Whose white coat did Alison wear after the incident at the Ball?
Who dressed as a flower child at the Ball?
Who wore the Art Deco-inspired couture by Claire gown?
Who went all Great Gatsby/Al Capone at the Ball?
Who wore the farthingale?fashion8




fashion10For more photos of the world in Carolina Reckoning, go to http://pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/carolina-reckoning/.

What in the world is a cloche hat?

cloche1A fitted, bell-shaped hat for women, the cloche hat became especially popular during the 1920s. Cloche is the French word for “bell” and is pronounced klosh with a long o. This style remained popular until 1933.

The hats were made of felt to conform to the head. Women wore the hats low on the forehead with the eyes slightly below the brim. Summer versions were also made from sisal and straw. The hats were accessorized with beads or lace and considered appropriate fashion accompaniments to evening or cocktail wear, for dancing and even bridal wear.

cloche2During the height of the Great Gatsby years with its Art Deco style, the cloche became ornamented with appliques, embroidery, jewels, scarves, fans and feather. At the end of the cloche era, it became fashionable to turn the brim upwards.

Ribbons attached to the wearer’s cloche sent secret messages. An arrowlike ribbon indicated a girl was single but had given her heart to another. A knot signaled marriage. A flamboyant bow shouted availability.

cloche3The cloche made a fashion comeback in the 1960s and again in the late 1980s. Anyone want to help Carolina Reckoning initiate a new fashion trend in the 21st century?

Trivia quiz—What color was the cloche hat in Carolina Reckoning?

Do you have a favorite hat? Send me a photo. I’d love to share your hats with blog readers.