This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Unavoidably detained at the South during these terribly warm months (June and July) I have taken refuge at a little village on Charleston Harbor, S. C, very primitive, very untidy and sadly needing whitewash, but withal very green, shady and healthy.
Opposite our piazza door gleaming, (too gorgeously bright in the glaring sunshine,) stand groups of crape trees (Legerstroemas) a blaze of deep pink blossoms covering the tops of the trees actually painful to the sight.
Further off are some with purple or rather dark lilac blossoms far prettier than the pink, as the green leaves are delicately interspersed with the purple flowers. Another, close by me is of a much paler hue, the flowers dropping lightly to earth as the sea breeze wafts over them. The clean naked trunks of these trees are entirely without bark, so smooth that you could fancy some careful hand had just peeled them. The young plants grow from suckers, as also from seed and bloom when two or three feet high.
The Spanish Bayonet, as it is called here, (Yucca) grows wild along the shore low down on the moist sands, high up the bluffs, everywhere where it can get a foothold in the shifting sand. Their immense crowns of white bells, pleasantly fragrant, stand like sentinels conspicuous from sea. I do not know if florists generally, are aware that a yucca may be sawed into pieces and stuck in sand, and that every piece will take root and grow.
In an adjacent lot I look upon a camellia tree, fully thirty feet in height. Many stems grow straight from the earth for a considerable distance without branch or leaf; the top forming a thick umbrageous arbor of shining evergreen. A friend who was here last spring assured me that when in bloom, every spray and branch was covered with single flowers, so numerous that from a distance the tree was crimson instead of green. It grows about two hundred feet from the ocean, entirely exposed to winter gales.
The mocking birds are more numerous here than I have ever seen them elsewhere. They congregate principally among the trees which skirt the shore. Now, having raised their broods of young birds, they may be seen every evening anxiously flying around them, from live oak to live oak, from the dark leaved " pride of India" trees - the berries of which later on form their principal subsistance - to the tall bushes of the purple dyed poke.
We found a nest full of well-fledged birds in a bush on the beach, where the wind from the ocean must have rocked them day and night. A smilax had entirely covered the bush with its wiry limbs, and beneath the dense shade of its evergreen leaves the nest was discovered. It is a singular fact, that the parent birds, when alarmed by the approach of a human being, utter two such peculiar cries, so hoarse and angry, flying close to the ground, and alighting continually on any low bush around, with such indignant flaps of their wings, that nothing is more easy than to discover the exact locality of the nest they are so anxious to protect.