Friday, October 7, 2011

Floral Inheritance

Today my friend Tammy shared some of her aunt's iris bulbs.  She already had them bagged when I got there.  

This reminded me of a column I did for DeSoto Magazine.  It is even more true today than when I wrote it. 

I know these are day lilies and not iris, but that's because I didn't have but a few. Now I do!

After a recent addition to my house, a friend and I were walking around the exterior admiring the new construction and lamenting the bare spots in the yard.

“I’ll have to do some landscaping,” I said. “This is a mess.”

Without hesitation, she said, “I have Hosta Lilies that I can divide next spring. They would look great over there.”

After she left I took a second look at my yard, and I realized just how many plants that are in my yard that have been shared by friends and family. Crepe Myrtles near my house and Altheas at the corner of my fence came from my Bunko buddies when we built the house 16 years ago. An English Dogwood at the corner of my house was once located at the corner of my mother’s house 10 miles away.

Day Lilies came from my mother’s best friend, an Amaryllis Lily was given to me by my husband’s elderly aunt.

Is this a Southern tradition?  I thought so.

I did a little research, and it seems there is an old superstition about thanking someone for sharing his or her plants. The legend claims that if you thank them, the plants will die.

A particular garden forum on the Internet ( posted a lively discussion on the matter. One writer suggested it was a Southern tradition, but was quickly disputed by posts from Ohio and Pennsylvania. Both writers said they had been scolded when they thanked the person who shared her plants.

In a region of the country where we were brought up to say “Yes Ma'am and No Sir,” it’s hard to imagine that it would be improper to thank someone for giving you something that brings so much joy.

Every spring when that English Dogwood blooms, I think of my mother and how proud she would be that it is standing at the corner of my house. When the lilies bloom, I can’t help but remember the friends that gave them to me and the moments we have shared over the years—good and bad.

So, if that’s saying “thank you,” I apologize.

No comments:

Post a Comment