Gardeners' Dirt: Create legacies in garden
By Debbie Schulze - Victoria County Master Gardener Intern Edited by Charla Borchers Leon
May 24, 2012 at 12:24 a.m.
We say that flowers are a part of our lives, and through them our lives continue forever. What do we mean by this? We mean that a plant doesn't have to be just a plant - as gifts in the form of "passalongs," plants also represent memories and history, and they link us to the future.
Plants from memories
My love of plants is based on many memories of a truly special person named Edna. Every day that I could, I spent time at her house - as we trampled a wide trail in the grass between our houses. Edna loved her plants and would always talk about the special plants that came from her friends. As I listened, I, too, wanted to have special plants in my life.
Carnation seedlings - I have often told others about the love that Edna had for her plants, and how I gained my love of plants from her. A month ago, my good friend, Charlie, surprised me with a small pot of carnation seedlings. She remembered my story about the special basket of carnations Edna used to hang from her oak tree.
Loquat tree - There are various trees on the approach to my home, but when driving in, I always look to my left and say "thank you" to a loquat tree that represents memories of someone special from my school days. Tisha Robinson gave me a little 5-inch-tall loquat tree she found growing under the large one in her yard. I had wanted a loquat tree in my yard because of memories of loquats growing next to my childhood home. But this tree was very special because of my shared history with her. She had been my elementary school teacher, and when I grew up and became a teacher, she was my principal. How then and now I value this tree - thank you, Tisha Robinson.
Plants shared with me
Althea - Altheas are an excellent lift for the eyes when placed in a flowerbed. And they can also take over - which is when you can begin sharing your love of plants with others. I started out with four small altheas transplanted from Edna's yard. And now they are all around my house. Next year, I will be ready to share the descendants of Edna's altheas with others.
Barbados cherry - Edna always showed me many things as I followed her around the yard. One of those things was a hedge of Barbados cherry planted down her front sidewalk in the shade between her oak trees. In spring, the hedge was embellished with small, pink flowers.
Edna knew this hedge could actually handle shade and still give good color. So, she shared one with me, and I transplanted it from her yard. Edna's Barbados cherry is now more than six-feet tall and covered with pink blooms under my own oak tree.
Plants from previous generations
Climbing rose bushes - In the 1980s, I happened to notice plants still surviving where my son's great-grandparents used to live. With permission, I was able to transplant a few plants. I now have two very old climbing rose bushes placed next to the front fence of my house that were once planted by my son's great grandparents. Lovely at the beginning of spring, the rose bushes continue to bloom all summer. I hope someday to pass on cuttings of these special rose bushes to all the Kunkel family members.
Red amaryllis - I also have beautiful red amaryllis bulbs from my sons' great-grandparents. They are placed around my oak trees next to the side fence line. The bulbs have multiplied over the years, and now members of the next generation in my family have transplanted some of those bulbs around a driveway under oak trees. Hopefully, their children will be able to pass them on to their own families one day. The legacy of generations of these plants will keep on thriving.
Touch of color from others
Having a job as I had working with parents, children and co-workers, I learned that each person flourishes by passing a touch of color on to another. Life keeps growing with each individual, just like plants.
I cherish the jasmine, gardenia and palms from Mrs. Nicole Friedrichs and daughter Raleigh; the gorgeous garden mums from my co-worker Mary Lee Pfenninger; the ginger, cast iron plants, and purple-bearded iris from Aunt Ruth Worsham; the poinsettias from Mr. Williams and Lupe Edison; and the special seeds shared from India by Mr. and Mrs. Rajesh Bhakta. Now I have a little touch of color in my flower beds because of them, and I thank them, my students, friends and co-workers for their legacy of love and sharing.
Create legacies for the future
Yes, we can create legacies by sharing our plants, for such gifts are filled with memories and history. By passing plants along to others we create a continuance into the future, linking us with generations yet to come.
We all have our own unique niche in life. By getting plants from our friends and family, we mold our own children, who in turn will be influenced by their family and friends.
The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas AgriLife Extension - Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this column at VictoriaAdvocate.com.