Thanks to Kathy Tanner for this very kind introduction: Lee is one of those people who has a smile every time you see her. She could be bending over weeding or planting at the bridge, or concentrating on the computer she uses to weave her word magic. Her sweetness is infectious, making you want to just pull up a chair and visit. We at the Flowering Bridge have been very fortunate that she shares her time and talent with us (not to mention her very talented husband and photographer!). In a very quiet and understated way, Lee has helped to make the Flowering Bridge come into many households and publications. Thank you, Lee, for your dedication, time, intelligence and talent!
Lee’s story: I love gardens, but have very limited gardening skills. I grew up with the scent of my mother’s gardenias at our doorstep and the tastes from my father’s vegetable garden gracing our supper table. Sadly, I didn’t inherit their green thumbs. Now I find myself in the company of the wonderful gardeners who have brought the vision of a blooming bridge to life.
Born in Atlanta, I was raised in other Southern places where my father was assigned in his work with the US Postal Service. We returned to Atlanta when I entered high school. That’s where a love of writing took hold and I knew I wanted to go to journalism school. After some fits and starts, I graduated from Georgia State University and began a 39-year career in editorial and television work, ending as a VP/General Manager for TV stations in Charlotte. I am blessed with a great partner, my husband Mike, and a wonderful son, Michael, whose talented wife, Heather, designed the LLFB logo.
Mike and I were looking for a vacation home in the mountains in 2003 and saw a sign for Lake Lure on Highway 74. We followed NC 9 until we saw the lake stretched out before us and fell in love with it. We found our home off Boys Camp Road and spent at least two weekends a month here until we retired in 2007. Now we pop back and forth between the lake and Charlotte regularly when we’re not traveling elsewhere.
When we heard about the idea of turning a bridge into a garden, we were charmed by the concept and were hooked at the first meeting. Since then we’ve volunteered to dig a little, carry some rocks, and put the monthly newsletter together. Mike has taken hundreds of pictures and spread the word on our website and Facebook. I tell anyone whose ear I can bend that this is the best community project I’ve ever seen. My respect for the accomplishments of our volunteers is immense and my joy in the friends we’ve made deepens day by day. This is more than a bridge and more than a garden; it is a living definition of community. The writer Clare Ansberry said it well: “Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together, drawing them from their homes.” (From The Women of Troy Hill)
(From the Flowering Bridge monthly newsletter of which The Mountain Breeze receives as a charter member of that organization.)