But my heart has always been drawn to those flowers that are often overlooked or are just not used as much anymore — like those once found in mom and grandma’s gardens.
As a child, I spent a lot of time at both my grandparents’ houses, especially in the summer. Most of that time there, I was playing outdoors. Chasing butterflies and collecting insects in quart jars was one of my favorite hobbies. (Even today, I am still curious about bugs.)
I soon learned that the best way to catch bugs was to position myself near flowers, especially around Maw Maw Kistler’s row of pink thrift or creeping phlox.
That childhood experience is why I added samples of Maw Maw’s thrift to my personal garden. Maw Maw Kistler’s memory and garden lives on, plus it gives me and my young sons, Blake and Clay, the chance to watch and chase bees and butterflies.
Other flowers that I have added to my garden over the years are bearded irises and daffodils. People seem to have forgotten about irises and daffodils; you just don’t see them in new landscapes, only in older gardens where someone’s grandma lives.
I like them, and associate them with mom’s flower garden. My mom, who is still living, has been growing bearded irises and daffodils as long as I can remember. She has irises and daffodils planted everywhere, and would always have bouquets of them in the house throughout the spring and summer.
I began my collection from my mom’s flowers. She not only passed along plants, but memories as well. Many gifts to my mom over the year have been flowers, such as a new iris variety.
One day, my two sons will look back and likely associate gardenias and blue big-leaf hydrangeas with their mom — my wife, Susan. That is what she likes, so that is what I have planted.
Even if my sons do not know it now, memories of their grandma and their great-grandmothers are there, too, planted and living on in our backyard.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Shane Harris is an extension agent for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. For help on other home and garden questions, contact your local county Extension office.