Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Hydrangea that Returned Home

On several occasions in this blog, I've mentioned how important plants can be in connecting gardeners across generations or across miles.  I wrote about the plants in our garden that came from Jack's mother's garden in West Virginia. Some were cuttings from his grandmother's garden. Most recently, I wrote about rose campion that my mother and I got from the garden of my mother's lifelong best friend, who died this summer.

When I was a child, my mother grew several blue mophead hydrangeas on the north side of our house. We did not have much shade in our yard, but the house must have provided just the right amount because those hydrangeas bloomed beautifully each spring. I can remember as a child taking bouquets to my teacher, and they usually included these big blue blooms. Those hydrangeas are long gone, collateral damage when we demolished the old house to build a new one.

Last week my mother passed away. My aunt (my father's sister-in-law) made the trip from Alabama for the funeral. She told me that she had tried to order flowers but was not able to because she did not have a credit card and the florist would not take a check. Then she remembered that many years ago, she had taken a cutting from my mother's hydrangea. She had shared the plant with a neighbor and the neighbor's plant had produced transplantable offshoots where the stems had touched the ground and rooted. So she dug up three of these little plants (one each for my brother, my sister, and myself) and gave them to us after the funeral. Needless to say, we were overwhelmed by her thoughtfulness. 

I have my little hydrangea in a pot, nursing it through this drought and hot weather, while I search for just the right spot for it. I want it to be just as happy in our garden as it was for many years in my mother's garden. When its blooms appear, I'll think of two special people: my loving mother and the thoughtful aunt who returned it to Tennessee.

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