Thursday, December 3, 2009

Grandma's Flowers

I mention my grandmother quite a bit because
I spent so much time at her home when we were
small cousins.

I came across this picture while going through some
computer files. This picture to me is so precious.
It was taken about 109 years ago when grandma
on the right (the blond) was about 3 years old and
her sister on the left was about 4. They both look
so pretty in this photo. I was named after
grandma's sister and looked similar to her when
I was younger.
Grandma had a big garden when I was young.
Then if you wanted to eat you grew it, raised it,
or hunted and fished for it, so the gardens were big
and the fields were full of corn to feed the animals.
For those of you who have never butchered chickens
you have not missed the messy sight and I can still
remember the smell of singed pin feathers.
On hog butchering day the whole family had to
work to get them ready and then smoked or salted
Funny that what was old is now coming back around
as new and of course green.

Since most of the land then was used for food
I started thinking back to what flowers grandma had
around the house.Then I started wondering about
the flowers that I grow and why I grow some of them.
I came to the conclusion that some of the flowers
that I grow are grown because she grew them or that
they reminded me of her. Maybe I wasn't even wild
about that certain flower at all but somehow I had
grown it and still do because they gave me fond and
warm memories.

Such as Hollyhocks. Some of the newer varieties
are pretty such as the doubles or darker, brighter ones.

But this one to me has always been an ugly color
of pink. Why have I kept it and even moved it
all around the yard to make a place for it?
Even fight with the Japanese beetles that want
to riddle them every June.
Because grandma had some.

The red one was not so bad of a color but of
course I managed to finish it off in one of the

I happen to love this one that grandma grew.
She had the biggest Lilac bushes and in fact
my lilac bushes came from shoots from her
bushes. Last winter the ice storm really damaged
the two bushes that I have and I was sick when I
saw the broken limbs on the over thirty year old
bushes. They are coming back and filled in this
summer.When I get a whiff of the fragrance from
the lilac blooms as the breezes carries it across the
yard I always think of grandma, smile and inhale
a little deeper.

Another flower she always had was Peonies.

Her peonies were red and she would have loved
this Sorbet peony.

Even the honeysuckle was taken from the old
farm house where she lived in the 'Big Woods'.

She always had geraniums although they were
always red. I wonder what she would think of all
of the colors and varieties that are grown now.
For those who have followed my blog you know
I love geraniums and another reason I grow them
although they may be called an old fashioned flower
is because they remind me of her and lets face it they
are tough and hard working flowers.

She also had a small flowerbed beside the outhouse.
Outhouse!! Well it was before everyone had in door
bathrooms. I have carried a many chamber pots to
dump in the outhouse in the morning. Also you have
not lived until you have slipped on the ice and went
flying backwards with your arm flying upwards and
dumped the contents all over you from the flying pot.
Yes, the first thing I did was to look and see if anyone
saw my acrobatic display and red face. Never mind
that my
tailbone went up into my ribs somewhere.
Anyway in the flowerbed beside the outhouse she
grew purple pansies.

I wonder now if it was to pretty up the outhouse
or was it just the most fertile ground.

Morning Glories always grew on the garden fence.

Rose of Sharon bushes grew on each corner of the
big front porch.

She seldom went to town but she loved traveling
to Lake Erie several times during the summers
we all would go fishing.
It is a scary thing when your seven and the only one
in the boat that can swim a stroke is you and grandpa.
Or that you have to bait your uncles hook because
he cannot stand the dirty worms on his hands.

And did we catch fish. More fish that a little
girl could hold up.

Grandma would look out over the fields on the
trips up and back and would always exclaim of
how her favorite flower above them all was ....

a simple yellow wildflower the 'Goldenrod'.

She found such beauty in a field full of them
bright and beautiful in the sun.

What flowers have sentimental value to you?

Happy Gardening Everyone!


Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I loved this post! It's interesting how many people have their first memories of gardening and flowers from grandparents. I love a lot of old fashioned flowers too, and many because they are ones my grandparents grew. Snowball bush and roses are a couple.
I love your outhouse story, I bet it was pretty fertile soil there :)

madcobug said...

I remember the hog and chicken killing. Cotton picking with those long sacks. And the outhouses but I never did what you did by sliding down and getting it all over me. I don't remember my grandmother having very many flowers but my mother did. Roses, snapdragons,hollyhocks. Aww, sweet memories. Cute pictures. Helen

Tootsie said...

I love different flowers that make me think of different people too. I have several different areas in my yard that I refer to by different friends names etc...just because there is something or a plant or whatever that reminds me of them! Your grandmother sounds very special...your photo of her is just precious!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lona~~ Thank you for the peak into your past. It was an enjoyable read. Grandparents really have an influence, don't they? I came from the quintessential messed up family but, like you, had grandparents who loved to garden. I was fortunate to get a few years with them. They had riverside property in rural southern Oregon--still to me the most beautiful area on the planet. I too wonder what they would think if she could see the plethora of plants available now.

bennie and patsy said...

That brings back memories for me and my grandmother in her garden.

Kiki said...

What a super beautiful tribute to your lovely Grandma!I love the old picture..spectacular! And love all the varieties you spotlighted in her honor..great photos!! Beautiful post...very touching!

Jim Groble said...

I remember my Gradma and Grandpa's garden on their farm in Minnesota. As a city kid it was huge beyond belief. Funny, 50 years later and i still think about them working the garden.
Nice new header.


keewee said...

I have many similar memories of the days we spent with our Grandmothers. What special lovely memories they are.

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

Beautiful post, and wonderful pictures. I really love your blue lilac, I hope to plant one next year. My grandmother had a beautiful large garden, filled with double pink peonies and large tomato plants. I found a comparable peony this year and planted it, her house always smelled wonderful from having buds in the house.

Muhammad khabbab said...

i really enjoyed this post. Memories of childhood gardening and flowers are very dear to heart. All the the blooms are very pretty specially peonies and lilacs.

Carrie said...

Beautiful post with the most fabulous black and white photos. What lovely memories you have of your childhood. I can't remember what flowers my grandmother grew or liked -the garden was nearly all veggies, but I do know Papa grew some special things for her, for some reason begonias come to mind and delihas but I just can't remember.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post, Lona, thanks so much. Your grandparents must have been wonderful folk and your flowers would make them happy, I am certain. We only remember gathering eggs in the hen house and the chickens pecking my little hand. My grandma would shoo them away with a big wave of her hand. Both of my grandmas gardened, everyone did back then. I do love your white and pink hollyhock! :-)

JOE TODD said...

I do have some peonies from my Grandmother and every time I look at them I think of her. Rockmill Turn left off rt 33 (at Myers) and take Lithopolis rd to Mt Zion Rd turn left you will see the covered bridge

Balisha said...

Hi Lona,
I love this post full of nostalgia. I too think about my Grandma often, when out gardening. Back then, when our Grandmas would take care of us, we did the chores with her. We didn't go to the mall or to a movie like they do today. We learned by following her around and watching.The Grandmas of old had patience.

Rosey Pollen said...

There are so many connections I can relate to in this post. My grandmother and grandfather both were avid gardeners and were obsessed over tulips. An entire acre devoted to them. And do I grow them? No, too many deer. But like you, I grow hollyhocks because of sweet memories. Interesting how gardening percolates down through the generations. Good post. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Darla said...

What a precious post. I have found myself at a garden center putting a paticular plant in my cart and not knowing why or if I even really want it. I purchase it, plant it, nourish it and then WHAM! it blooms, and I say to myself, "Self, Moma used to grow these." Dahlias, Petunias.....

Di said...

Lona, the white and pink hollyhock is gorgeous!

Lilacs, peonies, snowball bush and bachelor buttons are those that remind me of my grandmother. Of course each time I go to the vegetable garden, I know she's right there with me. Anyone render lard? lol... what a mess that was.

Thank you for remembering and posting this... a great tribute.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember what flowers grew in Grandma's garden, I only remember the cherry tomatoes we loved. But I do dearly love the old fashioned flowers like yours. She must have grown evening stock though. I once smelled it at a nursery, and instantly thought of her. That's why I planted it this summer! It still looks like it's going to bloom. Did you see the photos? Crazy plant.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post, brings back so many sweet memories

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Catherine: Grandma never had too many flowers most was used for gardening then. Yes, I am thinking it was very fertile ground ;-)

Helen: I would have hated the cotton I think.Eww, scrapping hog hair on butchering day was awful.

Tootsie: That is a wonderful thing to call your remembered flowers by the friends.Keeps memories going and makes you smile even during watering ;-)

Grace: It is amazing to me to see the old landmarks of my childhood. When I was small everything was bigger, the creek we swam in, the corn field that the snake chased me across, etc. Now they look so much smaller. I know they didn't shrink ;-)

Patsy: It is good to have some special memories to look back on. Now I can laugh at myself about them.

Kiki: Thanks bunches. I enjoyed writing about it all.

Jim: The hard lives they had seemed so much simpler. I think grandma would have much to shake her head about today ;-) Ahh, good memories.

KeeWee; The good old days. When I figured up how many years ago her picture was taken I was shocked.I sure miss her cooking.Her left overs were better than my first meals ;-)

Rebecca: I am forgetful so you will have to remind me but next spring remind me and I will send you a start from mine.

Muhammad: Thank you. It is nice to keep them in our hearts and minds. It is fun to write about them too.

Carrie: Most of the flowers I remember were from grandma. Mom just is not into flowers. She has one rose bush, one peony and lilacs and I do up a pot for her every year for her birthday. So I am not sure whee my love of flowers came from ;-)

Frances: I remember gathering eggs with her a few times but I was such a tom boy back then that I probably wasn't safe with a basket of eggs on my own ;-)
I did get flopped by a rooster one time and grandma cooked him for it,

Joe: Thanks bunches I may be able to find it now ;-) I love old mills.

Balisha: We played checkers, tag, hide n' seek, I spy something....,
hide the button. We made and played with the simple things we had around then.

Rosey: Those old pesky deers. We just had deer hunting season here so I hope they have thinned out.
Wow, an acre of tulips. What a beautiful sight that would have made.

Darla: I know girl it just clicks in afterwards and then its like wow I think grandma had one of these.

Di: Oh, yes rendering lard. I remember it well. But it was worth it for the cracklins ;-)

Robin: I bet it even bloomed for her. We just don't have the touch for those dumb stock plants.
Bring that baby in and see if it blooms by next spring LOL.

Zindagi: Do you think I told way too much about myself while reminiscing :-) Oh, well we have to laugh at ourselves to laugh with others. Thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post Lona. I bet your Grandmother is smiling, seeing what you are creating from her hand. All these memories are so precious and so are those photos. I remember picking mulberries at my grandmothers. She had a huge mulberry tree. We would almost make ourselves sick eating them.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Kathleen: That must have been so much fun. We would have pigged out too. We got chased out of the grape arbor a few times ;-)

Kylee from Our Little Acre said...

I knew hollyhocks would be here! My grandma grew them too and many of the ones I have in my garden are from seeds she gave me. They're a medium pink color. I love your pale pink/white ones! If you have any seeds of those, I'd love them in my garden!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Kylee: I did not save any seeds from the hollyhocks but I will save you some next summer.

Carol said...

Lona, I find this post so moving! Precious photo of your grandmother, as well as you holding up all those fish!! Beautiful images throughout. Lovely Lovely post. Carol