Melrose has been in the family for over a hundred years, and there is scattered evidence that my great-great-grandparents spent some time there after the Civil War. One of these days I will track that down. It was primarily a summer place for my grandmother's family, where they could escape the heat of Augusta (it is a few degrees cooler, and the hilltop location of the cottage reaps the benefit of breezes blowing in from the west). My great-grandfather also started a peach orchard there, and bears the distinction of being the first South Carolina peach exporter, or something like that. Eventually the peach trees succumbed to blight, and natural reforestation offered a means of income for my grandmother.
I tell you all this to convey a sense of history about the place, more than the people (at least today!). By modern standards Melrose is lush with ancient plants. Crepe myrtles line a section of the front porch. Tall and stately, I love the pattern of the bark that adorns the trunks. At the back of the house one of the crepe myrtle has "sprouted" shoots of new growth. We dug up four of those to bring home to plant, two of which are doing well. The other two may need last rites, but I'm giving them an opportunity for renewal before that pronouncement is made.
This past spring we were there earlier than usual and saw things in bloom that we miss, typically. Among those blooms is a row of daffodils planted along a ledge of sorts, just down the sloping ground away from the house to the north. These are heirloom dafs, and this fall I plan to dig some up to bring home to plant here.
It is the family tradition to enjoy the close of day with happy hour, watching the sun set. When I was growing up chairs were set out on the lawn under the large Live Oak, and trays of nibbles accompanied our consumption of beverages of choice. In more recent years the event has receded to the front porch, where chiggers and other nibbling critters are less likely to snack on us. I love the golden light that bathes the house and yard at that time of day.
For now, that concludes our tour of Melrose. Thanks for stopping by to visit. It's a tradition at this wonderful place.