A Legacy, Planted

My parents came to visit the other day, and we got to talking about the history or the plants we love.

My dad brought me some hollyhocks to plant. This was at least five years ago, maybe 10. I now have little colonies of hollyhocks around our side- and back-yards that bring great joy to me when those papery blossoms shout joy from the spindly stalks 4 feet off the ground. It turns out the hollyhocks have a lineage: They come from Dad, who got them from his mom. At one point, those hollyhocks came from Bern, Switzerland, where our my Gfeller ancestors used to live. I have living history in my yard. That’s pretty special.

We also planted, way back in the ’90’s (last century kids!), some Eastern Cedar trees. Sometimes I call them Junipers. I’ve trimmed them so a person can walk under them and enjoy the shade and that sharp juniper tang. It turns out the cedars that I love so much are from the 5-acre lot across the old highway from the old Foster farm north of El Dorado on Highway 77. If you’ve driven around with my relatives, you’d know how to get there. If you haven’t, come on over and we can take a drive.

I’ve planted Columbine flowers around the yard, too. Their fragile blossoms arrive best when I’ve planted them among rocks. They don’t bloom as well without some adversity in the rising. I’ve loved columbines ever since we saw them every summer on our family camping and backpacking trips. You can only see them when you get out of the city, off the highway, and into the mountains, where, if you step away from the trail, the land has changed little in centuries.

Lastly, the plural of Iris is Iris (right?). I’ve got at least 5 whole sections of flower garden that are fecund with Iris bulbs that launch a riot of blue and purple blooms in the post-frost days of spring. We had iris plants in our own backyard when I was growing, and the neighbors had them, too. Maybe there was a Works Progress Administration project that featured Iris for a few years.

Anyway, I wanted you to know how much joy I get from looking at something so simple as a plant because it reminds me of how rich my history and heritage are.

Do you have any plants like that?A

One thought on “A Legacy, Planted

  1. Yes, I love the heritage of plants. I have starts from my father’s lilac bush, iris from my husband’s grandparents old place and silver maples and irises from Marylee at GHS. I cannot match the deep heritage of yours, but I do appreciate remembering the lineage.


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