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Spanish Moss: Neither Spanish nor Moss

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I clearly remember the first time we entered Savannah, and turned onto 37th Street, where we would be living for three months. Huge oak trees canopied the street and random rays of sunlight squeezed past the Spanish moss, which hung apathetically off branches like the embodiment of sorrow. Years from now, when I shut my eyes and think “Savannah,” Spanish moss washed in sunlight will be what I see.

New Spanish Moss

Spanish moss doesn’t come from Spain. It’s indigenous to the Southeastern US, with a range between Florida, Maryland and Texas. There are a bunch of stories for why it’s named after the Spanish, but the most likely explanation is that the newly-arrived British thought this odd, mossy plant looked like the graying beards of their Spanish rivals.

And not only is Spanish moss not Spanish, it also isn’t a moss. It’s an airborne plant which takes its nutrients directly from the air. It’s actually a member of the same family as the pineapple, which is just bizarre enough to be true. Spanish moss doesn’t harm the trees it rests on, which are predominately Live Oaks and Bald Cypresses.

One of the first things we learned in Savannah was not to touch the Spanish moss, because of the red, biting bugs which live on it. Of course, this lesson was learned immediately after we had fashioned a “hilarious” moss coat for our dog, and wigs for ourselves.

I’ve often wondered to what extent the Spanish moss unconsciously influences life in the South. It fits perfectly in Savannah, creating an atmosphere of mystery and beauty, and it’s impossible to imagine the city without it.

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New Spanish Moss
New Spanish Moss
New Spanish Moss
New Spanish Moss
New Spanish Moss
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January 24, 2011 at 7:56 pm Comments (6)

Bonaventure Cemetery – Good Fortune Comes to Those Who Die

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Known as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the entire country, Bonaventure is found on the outskirts of Savannah, bordering the Wilmington River across from Whitemarsh Island. Its name means “Good Fortune,” and those buried on its grounds might certainly consider themselves fortunate. There are worse places to rest in eternal slumber.

Haunted Gracie

Bonaventure is a place of haunting beauty, where Spanish Moss hangs sorrowfully from every tree, casting broken light onto solemn fields of gravestones. The cemetery is large, and one which you could spend hours exploring, discovering tombstones of exquisite craftsmanship, and other most notable for their peculiarity. There’s one in the form of a broken tree trunk. A grinning marathon runner. Obelisks and gates. Downcast girls holding flowers. Underground crypts. And of course, there’s little Gracie Watson.

Of all Bonaventure’s ghosts, the most famous is that of Gracie Watson. In life, the vivacious daughter of the manager of the Pulaski House had been beloved by neighbors and well-known to the hotel’s guests. But pneumonia wasn’t impressed by Little Gracie’s charms. Pneumonia snuffed her out at the age of six. Her grief-stricken father commissioned a statue to mark her grave, and ever since, there have been rumors of the soft sobbing of a little girl in Bonaventure. The statue supposedly sheds tears, and screams out at night if a flower has been removed.

Besides Gracie, a number of famous people rest their bones in Bonaventure, including Johnny Mercer, Conrad Aiken and Henry R. Jackson. One statue you won’t find there, though, is the Bird Girl statue, which graced the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: it’s been moved to the Telfair Museum of Art, for safekeeping.

Location on our Google Map

Bonaventure Books

Haunted Cemetery
Savannah Bonaventure
Crossed Roses
Fire Bush
Spanish Moss
Spritz
Savannah Cemetery
Cemetery Fence
Crypt
Crypt Door
Grave Iron Art
Bonaventure
Barefeet Savannah
Little Eddie
Boyd Grave
Scary Grave Stone
Herschback Savannah
Blind
Bonaventure Savannah
Pyramid Savannah
Broken Angel
Haunted Gracie
Little Gracie Story
Bulldog Grave
Ana Meyer Savannah
Dreamy Places
Grave Flowers
Dead Mother
Grave Roses
Sad Child
Graveyard roses
River Gate
Jungle Graveyard
Palm Cemetery
Windy Girl
Stone Wreath
Two Angels
Mercer Bonaventure
Waveyard
Mother Angel
Urnes
Spooky Savannah
Face of Bonaventure
Soldier Grave
Dead Golfer
Sad Angel
Bonaventure Marathon
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November 16, 2010 at 4:29 pm Comments (17)
Spanish Moss: Neither Spanish nor Moss I clearly remember the first time we entered Savannah, and turned onto 37th Street, where we would be living for three months. Huge oak trees canopied the street and random rays of sunlight squeezed past the Spanish moss, which hung apathetically off branches like the embodiment of sorrow. Years from now, when I shut my eyes and think "Savannah," Spanish moss washed in sunlight will be what I see.
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