Capitol Corridor
Capitol Corridor
Capitol Corridor
University of California
Capitol Corridor

My Heirloom Garden

Heir·loom \’er-,lÜm\: 1: a piece of property that descends to the heir as an inseparable part of an inheritance of real property 2: something of special value handed on from one generation to another.  3: a horticultural variety that has survived for several generations usually due to the efforts of private individuals.

My dad, Bob, passed away about 2 years ago, and I always think about him this time of year especially, since it would’ve been his birthday last week, and I undoubtedly would’ve brought him some home-baked cookies and a plant or garden tool. Every spring, when I was younger we’d go to a garden shop and buy a pansy or petunia for me to take home and keep in my windowsill. Since I didn’t live with him, I think it was his way of saying he’s always around. 

Every time I went to my dad’s house something new seemed to be sprouting or growing. He was especially good with roses. Always telling me that they’ll grow if I’d just stick ‘em in the ground. One day I’d go to visit and he’d have them all pruned back and I’d think how in the world will they ever come back?

But, sure enough, next visit there they’d be with buds, and the next visit with big full blooms smelling wonderful with that old-fashioned rose scent. I’d often comment on my way to the car, and sooner than I could turn around, he’d have a few buds snipped with the stems wrapped in a moist paper towel so they’d stay fresh until I got home.

In another shady corner next to his shed were violets (Viola odorata), that were just prolific! Their tiny purple blooms fill the air with a light scent that you would imagine in a fairyland somewhere. Eventually, they spread to be under some of the rose bushes along with a bit of fern. What a treat for the senses that always was!

And every early spring, I’d always forget that there were daffodils. Since we usually entered in his back door I would never notice them until I would decide to take my “walk around” to see what was happening in his yard. I’d walk out to the front porch and practically staring me in the face would be the tallest daffodils! Mind you his porch was about  2 ½ feet high off the ground! Those would have to be the strongest bulbs I’d ever see, since they really had to reach to get some of the sun.  I think he planted them for his wife, Harriet, who had loved the color yellow.

We finally sold his house last year as much as we wanted to keep it, it was in a senior living area and we weren’t allowed to rent it out. My husband waited patiently on the last moving day as I “walked around” one more time breathing in each scent and trying to remember it forever.

Just last week, I was doing a “walk around” of my own house, when I noticed something growing in a bin. It was my dad’s “compost” bin. Just an old 15 gallon black planter’s tub that he used to throw his clippings in after pruning. I guess I’d forgotten. I’d dug up some of those daffodil bulbs and tossed them in hoping that I’d be able to get the same spectacular results that he had gained. But alas, I never planted them. Disappointed and figuring that they turned to compost themselves after a year of sitting, I passed by the tub day after day never having the heart to recycle it and had decided to use it for my own trimmings. What a surprise! Those bulbs had grown and bloomed in his bin and there they were! Rejoice! Two perfect daffodils (I think one for Dad and one for Harriet), right in the bin, right at my house, just like he was saying again that he’d always be around.

My Dad's Daffodils March 2012. (photo by Patti Brantley)
My Dad's Daffodils March 2012. (photo by Patti Brantley)

Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 8:23 AM
Tags: heirloom (1), plants (44), remember (1), scent (2)


What a lovely story...

Posted by Donna Seslar on March 20, 2012 at 7:48 AM

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