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In mid-March, after what seemed to be the third or fourth nor’easter, I grabbed a friend and we headed to Charleston for a few days of sun and gardens. Driving south through rain and snow, we arrived as the storm was leaving and the sun came out.

Besides eating ourselves into a food coma, I wanted to get out and walk the streets of the historic area and take in some of the amazing gardens. One of the gardens that I definitely wanted to see was Mrs. Whaley’s, on Church Street.

When I had last been to Charleston, in the spring of 1999, she had just passed away at the age of 87; here we were again almost 20 years later. I was delighted to find that her daughter Marty Whaley was now in her mother’s home, and continuing the tradition of the garden that her mother had maintained for 60 years.

The open sign hung on the Charleston gate, and Marty was in the backyard, working with a young man as they prepared for a spring wedding. I was really glad that I had looked up some old pictures from my previous visit, plus reread the two short books that her mother had written in the last two years of her life: “Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden” and “Mrs. Whaley Entertains.”

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