Medicinal Magnolia

The Magnolia Grandiflora is a native tree that is currently in bloom all around historic #Charleston, SC. This big evergreen can grow well over 50 feet in height and produces large white flowers that give it its distinctive name. The blooms of the Magnolia are especially alluring with their creamy color and soft, linen-like scent. The petals actually will open and close with sunlight for several days, and when the stamens fall off, a cone-like seed pod emerges. The seeds, bark, leaves, and roots of the Magnolia have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times, and during the Civil War, became important as a source of alternative medicine when supplies were cut by the Northern naval blockade. The Magnolia can help reduce inflammation and anxiety, lower liver toxicity and regulate blood sugar, as well as helping the respiratory system. Many of these benefits can be found in The Resources of the Fields and Forest of South Carolina, published during the Civil War by Charleston physician Francis Porcher. <img.src=”Charleston Gardens” alt=”Magnolia Grandiflora”

Synchronized Styles

One of the biggest tourist attractions in Charleston is the city’s collection of grand buildings from bygone eras. There are many historic buildings throughout scenic #Charleston that display features that come from different architectural eras, and on my walking tours I explain much of the diverse architectural heritage of the city. It was common throughout the city’s history for building owners to update the look of an existing structure by adding a newer, in-fashion look. Most typical are the buildings, such as this one on Broad Street, that were “Victorianized” in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The Victorian period in architecture was known for a dramatic change in roof lines, as the high-hipped, fish-sale slate Mansard Roof became all the rage. Times were tough in Charleston in the decades after the Civil War, so few building owners had the money to tear down and rebuild – which is out great fortune today. The body of this building dates to circa 1800, when the roof would have been much different. The Victorian additions give buildings like this a regal look, and it was all down without losing much history or money. <img.src=”Charleston Architecture” alt=”Victorianized buildings”

Maternal Memories

I have this enchanting oil on canvas of my great-great-great grandmother Caroline Poincignon Trouche, painted by her husband Auguste circa 1830. He was a gifted Charleston artist well-known for the realistic qualities of his work, and in her eyes there is a tangible look of the love, dignity and compassion for which she was known. They were married at St. Mary’s Church in 1826, and lived on Church Street in the old city. She was gifted in music, and his work survives in famed paintings featured at the Gibbes Museum of Art. Both were second-generation French immigrants, and I have composed a poem below her image in the language she grew up speaking to honor her on Mother’s Day.

Le doux visage de notre matrone de famille,

qui nous savons d’huile sur toile.

Vit encore dans sa lignée aujourd’hui,

avec nous toujours comme la caresse d’un voile.