One grandmother was a founding member of her local Garden Club. The other, grew plants on her back porch and came from a family who once sold drop-dead gorgeous dahlias from their car trunk in downtown Spartanburg way back when.
Thankfully, I was able to dig up some plants from both homes before they were sold. From one, amaryllis and a hydrangea. From the other, an old-timey spice bush, daffodils, and cuttings from a rose bush that originated in my great-grandmother’s yard.
You wouldn’t know it by the way my yard looks right now (I’ll spare you the excuses) but I love my garden and the heirloom plants that have made their home here. When our roof was replaced earlier this year, I protected my grandparent’s plants like a mama bear. This fall, I plan to venture back outdoors to clean up, weed, and clip. After all, specific areas of the yard were planted with our future grandchildren in mind and a jungle was not on that list.
This weekend, I look forward to perusing the online catalog of Old House Gardens. I’ve always been delighted with both their product and customer service. It’s one of the few companies that still offer heirloom and hard to find plants.
Am I alone or was there a plant in your loved ones yard that you now enjoy in your own?
The older I get, the more I enjoy history. I’m intrigued by the stories buried behind our nation, our state, our foundational beliefs, and much more. On a smaller scale, I also enjoy having plants with a “history” in my yard. Like these…
Chapter I: These flowers came from one of my grandmother’s (Alberta Scott) yard in Fairforest SC. She and my grandfather had to leave their home of 50+ years when their health began to fail. On the day before closing, I was given permission to dig up whatever plants I wanted from the yard. I chose her tea roses, one hydrangea bush and a few Amaryllis bulbs (see pictures below)
Chapter II: From my other grandmother, Elsie Knighton, who recently passed away, I received a Carolina Allspice shrub. Grandmother’s shrub came from her mother’s yard and her mother’s shrub came from her sister’s yard, a great-great-Aunt I never knew. How cool is that? I’m currently rooting a few roses cuttings from grandmother’s rose bush, which originated in her mother’s yard as well. (no pictures)
Chapter III: About 10-15 years ago, I came upon an ad in a local paper from an elderly woman, Mrs. Miriam Snow, who was selling old-timey daffodils. She wore a brimmed hat and had the spunk of a 20 year old woman. I remember thinking how I wanted to be like her at that age — hoeing, digging up plants and planting bulbs in full expectation of being there the following season to see them bloom. I continued going back for more plants every year up until a few years ago, when she developed Alzheimers. Mrs. Snow was an aficionado of daylilies and I treasure the ones I was able to dig up over the years. Here are some of my favorites, including a Bottlebrush Buckeye Shrub that came from her yard.
Chapter IV: One day, Karen Trone dropped by to ask me if I’d be interested in digging up some siberian iris from an elderly woman’s home here in town. Karen had spotted the beautiful purple irises growing in her yard and stopped to ask if she could dig up one for her yard. An elderly woman, Mrs. Mabry, answered the door and shared her sad story of having to move out of her home because of health reasons. The bulldozer would be flattening the house soon, in hopes of selling the land. She was delighted that another “yard person” would want to rescue her plants and enjoy them as much as she had over the years. We went back, visited awhile and then we started digging. Karen and I were spotting anything in bloom! I dug up a hydrangea, Rose of Sharon, wild roses and iris. Here’s what started it all:
Chapter V: And last, but not least, here’s the only plant in our yard that bloomed when we moved in… a 40+ year old camellia:
Since moving in to our circa 1911 home a few years ago, we’ve added hundreds of blooming shrubs and flowers for someone to enjoy… one day when I’m history!
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