Who has a plant with the best story behind it?

Julie - MI-5April 1, 2000

I was reading the catalog from Thomas Jefferson's garden and wondered what kind of story YOUR plants have!

Not just the "Grandma's Iris" stories, but something more unusual.

Does anyone have an interesting plant story to tell?

Julie, Michigan zone 5

(I just have "regular" plants)

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Don from the land of oz - 6b

Yes,I do,I grow a lot of tropical plants,A neighbor across the street brought over a cutting of some kind of succulent I believe,not knowing for sure a leaf stuck in a small pot,that a church member had given her,but she said she hadn't the room for another plant and asked me If I would take it.Sure why not,I put it out on the deck along with about 100 plants and as time passed by I'd forgotten about it till I noticed this cutting was 1ft tall,this was early spring,by fall when time to bring plants in for the winter this cutting was 6ft tall.Still not knowing what it was none of the local nurseries had any to compare with.Now this plant is 10ft tall atleast,my sunroof is only 9ft and the plant has 3 stemms hitting the roof and bent over afoot or two.This plant has yet to flower.I couldn't take it any longer and went and bought the A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants,$80.00,A good investment anyway,and discovered what I think I have is a Epiphyllum,Oxypetalum,orchid,cactus.This plant is still growing out of hand.Would appreciate how to propagate this plant,for I forgot what it really looked like when she gave me the cutting in the first place,For I'd had forgotten until I noticed it a ft. tall.Any suggestions!
Don Bryan

    Bookmark   April 1, 2000 at 10:52PM
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laurie - FL

I have some weird succulent that I THINK is a stapelia family member, but straight of out Dr. Seuss for sure... it has angular, but oddly so, creeping stems that are cream with burgundy blotches on it, grows too fast to keep up with.... my kids have dubbed it "the God joke" as in, God was joking with giraffes..... I give it away in big chunks to friends and neighbors using exactly that name, and they all take one look and AGREE.......... the God joke. wish I had a photo to add to this.....but the blooms are definately stapelia like, mustard yellow stars that are a bit stinky...

    Bookmark   April 10, 2000 at 1:18AM
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Evelyn - 7

I don't really know if this could be considered as a plant with the best story, but here goes.... After my creeping rosemary creeped over the creeping phlox...when the rosemary just starts to go out of bloom (it blooms from November to April), then the creeping phlox creeps through the creeping rosemary, and it looks as though the rosemary is a phlox! (This year the blooms are even more prolific..)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2000 at 12:02PM
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jane_in_il5(Central IL, z5)

My favorite sentimental plant is my very large peony bush with creamy white double blooms as big as softballs. Here's the story behind it . . .

Seven years ago I had the local volunteer fire department burn down the old house where my mother grew up so that I could build a new house on the same spot. There were peony bushes along the back of the old house, but it was early March so I had no idea where they were and couldn't dig them up to save them. After the fire everything was bulldozed into a heap. Then that May, the day before excavation company was coming do dig the basement, I noticed all these little 5 inch green starts all over the site . . . out from the ash and the rubble, little, hardy, struggling PEONY starts!! I spent the evening digging out the little buggers and planting them a safe distance away. The next spring, after construction was complete, I moved them to a nice place along side my driveway and they are just thriving. From near-death to georgeous! According to my Grandmother, the peonies were there when they bought the original house in 1945.

I like looking at them and knowing that these were the same beautiful flowers that my Grandmother tended and that my mother would snip and place in a bowl of water on the kitchen table.

Jane in IL

    Bookmark   May 24, 2001 at 6:35PM
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Atomic_Skull(z9 CA)

1ft tall,this was early spring,by fall when time to bring plants in for the winter this cutting was 6ft tall.Still not knowing what it was none of the local nurseries had any to compare with.Now this plant is 10ft tall atleast,my sunroof is only 9ft and the plant has 3 stemms hitting the roof and bent over afoot or two.This plant has yet to flower.I couldn't take it any longer and went and bought the A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants,$80.00,A good investment anyway,and discovered what I think I have is a

I doubt it's an Epiphyllum, at best Epi's are semi-upright trailing plants. (usually, they are completely pendant, not upright at all). They never grow upright the way you describe. At most, Epiphyllum oxypetalum gets to be 5 feet tall. It's unusual in that it grows stiff "canes" from the end of which grow a second kind of stem growth that is flat and broad like a leaf (though these are just highly modified stems, it has no true leaves). The flowers grow from the edges of the "false leaves", out of areoles just like any other cactus.

Information can be found at the following link.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2002 at 10:58AM
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justjude(z6 PA)

For my mother's 75th birthday, my bro and SIL decided to have a daylily cultivar named after her. They have a friend who has a daylily nursery, and he said he'd be glad to name one of his new cultivars after her.

When they came into bloom, SIL went over there and cut blossoms from several varieties to bring home so she and my bro could decide which one was most fitting for Mom. As they sat there in a mason jar on the counter (the flowers, not the family), who should breeze in but Mom in her usual high-energy, get-involved way.

"What are these for?" she inquired. Thinking fast, SIL said "We're planning a new daylily bed along the driveway, and can't decide which ones to plant. Which one do you like best?"

Without hesitation, she pointed to a lovely soft orange one, sturdy and uncomplicated. "This one!"

And that is how the Eileen Clymer daylily got its name. I'll have some to share/exchange later this Fall (and everyone else in the family also has them in their gardens!) Or you can order them from Seawright Nurseries in Carlisle, MA. I was there this spring, more than 10 years since Mom died, and he's still growing them. They sell very well! His catalog describes it as "an early riser, like its namesake, cheery and sturdy." I love remembering Mom that way.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2002 at 10:46PM
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When we started to build our house in Sept., I was told by our neighbours that there was a beautiful white peony out beyond the foundation area. I remember the following spring, when the foundation was all done, sitting on the back stoop, all mud, you know how it is if you've ever been in a new house development, completely unfinished, seeing this lovely, fragrant peony. And I thought to myself, I'll have to remember that it's there so I can move it before the deck gets built.

Well, the deck got built, completely, and I mean completely covering it.

So, last year I was down under the deck, probably trying to tape up a leaking hose, when I see this plant, which doesn't look toooo weedy. Yes. It's that peony. There, a good 5' in on one side and easily 10' in on the other side.

So I think, this is way too dark for a peony. I'll dig it out. So, I dig. A 5' shovel in a 3' space. It was awkward. Used my hands a lot. And I dig. And I'm a newbie gardener, but this doesn't quite look like roots. So I keep digging. I keep getting stem. Easily 18" down, I'm in way past my elbows. Then I start to find what looks a bit like roots. Not much, gotta go wider. Now an 18" hole needs a pretty wide opening at the top. It was tough going with my 5' shove. And I'm thinking to myself, if she's so persistent, to come up through so much crappy heavy muddy clay, I can do this, too. So, I brought it out. Well, what I could get, which wasn't much after an hour (!) of frustrating digging.

Put her somewhere. Not sure where, exactly. She'll pop up. Can't imagine the thing would die. Hmmm, maybe she did die cuz it was summer when I did it and peonies only like to be moved in the fall.

Think I'll take a peek under there and see how my hose is doing. Whatcha-wanna bet she's coming up again. Talk about persistent. Good thing she's a keeper and not a weed.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2002 at 11:15PM
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Dianna_in_WA(z7 WA State)

*bump* this thread is too good to let it drop off. :-)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2002 at 11:53PM
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Nancy5050(7a - 7b)

So kind of you to do that for me well us really.Just What I ve really been needing to getout in the open.You guessed it I am a plant abuser I really try very hard not to be,.But theres this plant that all just one,Im good as gold to my alovera and I could never be bad to any Iris,with or without a name.then theres roses ,love roses and any calamity that may befall them while in my care ,well is really not all my fault.Daffadils delight in my care.WellIcould just go on and on,but on to the meat of the matter.Just promise me you wont tell a living soul.Theres this littlehepless Norweigen Pine-cutest little npyou might ever see and I guess shes wll behaved well for an NP any way.Ilove her best of all my plants and for a special reason.About a year after my folks 50th aniversity I found her sitting all forlong,dry and droopy you really cant imagine how droopy she really was.Mom said do you want her-shell only die for me besides Im really not into house plants ,but I want her to go to a good home because she was one of my 50th aniversity presents,YES JUST WHANT YOU THOUGHT.Needless to say I was delighted to be trusted with such great responsibility.I quickly gave her a drink ,then rushed her home to do intensive care.I changed her dirt-and loving fertilized the soil,bigger pot yes that,sunny window,but not too much sun just the right amount.I couldnt do enough for her ,but time passes and I get so busy outsidethat Itotally neglect her monhts water,ect need I say more .They say getting it out in the open,talking about it does wanders and is actually a step toward a cure.well I tried .If it doesnt work I guess theres always professional help thanks for your patience

    Bookmark   September 17, 2002 at 2:24AM
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Nancy5050(7a - 7b)

Well I had trouble with one sentance near the end and I wrote it so:I get so busy out side that I totally neglect her,months without water,ect...hope that helps

    Bookmark   September 17, 2002 at 12:04PM
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Nancy5050(7a - 7b)

I dont know another one just now, thinking though

    Bookmark   September 17, 2002 at 5:30PM
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butterbeanbaby(z5 MO)

My favorite plant with the best story isn't actually a plant but a planter... but I'll post it here anyhow...

My hubby and I moved to Missouri after only having been together a few months, so we'd never had a previous Valentine's day... we spent our first Valentines at Stephenson's Restaurant in northern Kansas City. After several years of going there, we called for our traditional Val-Day dinner reservations only to be told there had been a fire and they were closed. We were, of course, rather heartbroken... we now go to the one in Independence... but I digress...

The family decided to sell off the restaurant and its contents and a girlfriend of mine and her dad were doing the sale for them... I got four chairs from their patio area, one of which I have planted on my front steps. So everytime I see it, I can think about Tony's and my first Valentine's Day together.

AND also... almost all of my iris were Mother's Day presents, so each one means something at least to me.


Here is a link that might be useful: the not for sittin' chair

    Bookmark   September 19, 2002 at 12:17PM
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lisazone6_ma(z6 MA)

I posted this over at the Clematis Forum but here goes - I had a clematis growing up a trellis attached to my back porch for about 5 or 6 years. We decided to put a deck where the clematis was planted and try as we might, we couldn't design the deck around it, so it had to go. It broke my heart to dig it up, but the DH hacked it up and out it went. I know we could have transplanted it, but that wasn't an option at the time. Anyway, about three weeks after the deck was completed I saw something green poking up between two of the floorboards and lo and behold it was the clematis vine growing again! DH pulled up the board, drilled a hole thru it and reattached the board. A second (and now a third) vine grew up and he did the same thing. He re-attached the trellis to the porch, so now I have the vine back growing up thru the holes he drilled. It's already about three feet up the trellis again. We figure if it wanted to live that badly, we had to help it along. I'm very happy I will get to see it flower again!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2002 at 4:08PM
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HI all this is great I am a female cement truck driver one day in the break room one of the guys was bragging about this huge patio he was going to put in, first he had to plow under all these green things I literally yelled what kind of green things his reply " I dont know just green things" needless to say I went over to his house with a shovel and dug up about 45 HUGE clumps of Hosta I brought them home seperated and planted for two days.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2002 at 7:57AM
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Forget-me-nots. That is one of my fav stories. Mom and I went to her aunts house to visit, and was taken on our usual garden tour. My uncle was out in the garden as we looked at all of their beautiful plantings.
Uncle Slim was grousing about "....those #%$@#$ forget-me-nots..."
So Aunt Elsie, holding her own, chips back something like, "...you'll do no such thing! I like my for-get-me-nots and you just leave them alone."
He's back with, "...gonna pull them all, every last one..."

My Mom was watching Aunt Elsie, whose lower body and hands were out of view of the ranting uncle. Aunt Elsie looked at Mom with a wink and twinkle, her hand on the the bloomed out plants, and she was just a shaking it...seeds were shed for the promise of yet another spring of pretty blue flowers, in spite of Uncle Slim.
They are both gone now, but I'll bet forget-me-nots still bloom somewhere in NE Portland. Seeds of that generation.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2002 at 11:34PM
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Merry(7a Tn.)

I have several cannas that could be 100 years old. I bought my house last fall and the previous owner told me this story. My house is an 1880 Victorian. The previous owners were doing major renovations and decided to pour a concrete patio on the side of my house. There were stepping stones that had to be moved before the concrete could be poured. The owner removed the stones a few days before the concrete. The day the truck came with the crete, she noticed a little plant emerging from where the stones had been. She carefully removed the plant to a safe place and it has thrived and produced lots of cannas. They are not particularly attractive, but I don't have the heart to get rid of them. I figure if the little plant survived for no telling how many years under a stone, it deserved to live and live well.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2002 at 10:16AM
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deadheader(z6 IN)

Wish I had an unusual story to even come close to ya'll. Lisa, I loved your clematis story because I have 15 or 16 that have made it through cats, dogs, drought, wilt. But they seem to have a will to live.

The only kinda unusual story I have involves DH deceased father. He lived in town on a 25' frontage lot in an old shotgun house. His front yard couldn't have contained more than a couple wheelbarrows of dirt. Yet, through a crack in the concrete sprouted a little holly. It managed to reach about 2 - 3 feet before he died. Somehow DH managed to wiggle that baby out of the crack and we planted it smack out in our yard. That was over 12 years ago. Said holly is now over 12' tall and is host to at least two nesting couples every year. Hope this doesn't fall too close to grandma's iris for you......Terry

p.s. clipper, you are as sick as I am. Tried therapy, didn't work.LOL

    Bookmark   September 29, 2002 at 10:29AM
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lovely stories, one more good reason to stay put. I've been cursed with having to move constantly. I lose too many plants that way. Altho' I grow these wonderful avacado plants, bushes really. I start the seed and trim the tap root, sometimes several times it makes many more upshoots, plant 8 to 10 of these multi shoots in a large planter and you'll get an enormous bush, but everytime I get one about 7 or 8 feet tall and too big to hug, I have to move, either my home gets sold or my husband gets transferred so I no longer grow avacados. Superstitiously I feel like I won't have to move again, if I don't grow one.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2002 at 5:51PM
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Dswan(z6 UT)

This isn't in my yard, but in a cemetary in a small rural Idaho town, there is an old stump of a once magnificient conifer. As the story goes, my grandfather, on my mother's eighth birthday passed away. My grieving grandmother planted a small pine tree (actually, I think it was a blue spruce) perhaps five to six feet from his headstone. This was clearly against the rules of the cemetary, but no one had the heart to tear out the tree of this grieving young widow.

Like most small rural towns in Idaho, there are more dead people in the cemetary than live ones in the town. The cemetary began to run out of room and eventually, the tree, now 30-40 feet high was removed to make room for additional headstones and to keep from completely covering several headstones adjacent to the tree.

But the stump remains, just five or six feet from my grandparents, both long deceased, a symbol of a grieving young widow who needed something to remember and honor her departed husband.

Whenever I visit the cemetary, that stump reminds me of my grandmother and the loss she went through and of my mother, as recalled in her biography, crying in her mother's arms saying, "I want my daddy."

    Bookmark   September 30, 2002 at 7:32PM
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marilyn_c(z9 Tex.coast)

Several years ago, I saw a tv program on PBS about "Rose Rustling", which is merely taking a cutting or two from old roses growing in abandoned homesites, or cemetaries and the like. That got me interested in antique roses, and "found" roses. I had success right from the start growing them, and I was always on the look out for more. I was driving past this old, delapidated house. The porch was falling off and the weeds were waist high in the yard. Through the weeds, I could just make out a rose growing by the porch. (I thought). I parked my car, and walked up to the porch. Odd, the rose, which turned out to be a miniature, was growing in a pot. I took two small cuttings. Later, I was wondering why anyone had moved and left the rose in the pot on the porch. Since the house appeared to be long abandoned, I decided to go back and just bring home the whole thing. It was almost dark when I pulled up to the house. There were lights on in it!!! Someone was living there!!! Boy, did I feel like a fool! If someone had come to the door when I was taking my cuttings, I think I would have wet my pants. I got back in my car and drove away. Felt so bad, it was months before I could drive past there again.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2002 at 11:27AM
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addictedcollector(6a KCMO)

For my 50th birthday, I gave myself a gift of some help from a professional landscaper. I used the services of a man who was referred to me by the local nursery. Initially, I did not know that he and his wife were in the process of building up their business and that he was working full time as a teacher. As he was telling me how he went out of his way to NOT WORK FOR relatives of any of his students, my husband drove in the driveway with our two grandsons. You guessed it, my landscaper was my grandsons art teacher. My boys spent the rest of the afternoon working with him in the yard.

One of the plants he put in for me was a Birds Nest Spruce that I had wanted for a long time. It wasn't doing well and I kept meaning to call him, but didn't get around to it. By the middle of July, I knew I had better call him pretty soon, because I was certain the plant was almost dead.

Before I had a chance to place the call, I found out that he and his wife were on Flight #800. (By coincidence, this happened on my youngest grandson's birthday.)

A few days later I went out to look at the Birds Nest Spruce again and to my utter amazement, there was fresh green growth on almost all of the tips!!! With chills and in tears, I ran into the house to call the people at the nursery to let them know what had happened.

We recently moved from that house and I wish I could have dug up that spruce and brought it with me.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2002 at 9:16PM
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Violet_Girl(z9a TX)

well, I don't have many good stories, but nearly all my plants have a history. My Scheff was given to us when my Grandpa passed away in 2001. My mom nearly killed it but I adopted it and it has more than tripled in size.
My Mimosa is from a seed I picked up while on vacation visiting my grandma-the widow of aforementioned grandpa.
my roses are from my great-great-great-grandmother's porch.
(sorry I know that's really grandma's-irises, but still.)
the list goes on..

    Bookmark   May 24, 2003 at 7:18PM
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What wonderful stories. Even though this is an old thread it still has beautiful stories. I have none to match, but I do have tons of plants that my now deceased father grew and they are the best. I have the largest purple lupin you will ever see and it was a gift from him. I swear he gardens from heaven.

I also had a favorite spot in the world to visit and got the opportunity a few years ago to go visit, and while I was there I saw the flowers that I used to pick when I was a child [some 50 years earlier] and was able to take some seeds from them and plant them in my own garden. It was just a lowly mallow, but it brings back wonderful memories of picking flowers at grampies. This is still one of my favorite past times, picking flowers.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2003 at 6:57PM
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This isn't exactly a plant story, but it's in the ballpark. Our neighbors had some Russian Olives (most cursed of trees!) planted on the lot line when we moved in here. We cut most of our side of them down that first fall, and piled them in a huge pile to dry out over winter until we could burn them in the spring. The next year, I was putting in my garden and needed something to mark the rows with. Spying the pile of branches, I broke some off and stuck them into the ground. I swear to goodness, those branches sprouted their leaves when the rains came! They died off, of course, with no roots to support them, but after being detached from the tree for 6 months time in freezing cold winter, they still had the umph to open their leaves. I don't think it's possible to actually kill a Russian Olive!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2003 at 2:07AM
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I guess this is another survival story.10 years ago when we bought our present house,my hubby and oldest son decided to replace one of those tacky metal sheds and build a much larger wooden shed complete with veranda.There was a beautiful mature clematis growing against the old shed and I had planned on moving it before the construction started.While I was away for a couple of days they dismanteled the old shed and had the new shed almost completed.I was heartbroken about my beautiful clematis,and since it was early spring they didn't even notice what was growing and built right over it "concrete slab foundation'
Three years later I noticed something growing in my perennial border about 20 feet from the shed which looked awfully familiar.You guessed it,it was my clematis ressurected.It has been blooming and growing strong every year since,It's one of the miracles in my garden.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2003 at 7:01PM
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Several autumns ago I mixed up some seed starting mix in a bucket so I'd have it ready when I needed it and wouldn't have to dig through a foot of snow for sand. When I felt the time was right to start delphiniums I brought the bucket in, added some perlite and planted about half the seeds I had. About an hour after I'd planted everything, my husband came in and asked why I had his bucket of COFFEE GROUNDS in the kitchen. He thought I had coffee grounds in my bucket and faithfully added to it all winter.

When I discovered what I did, I planted almost all the rest of the seeds in a sand, peat, perlite mix in mini aluminum loaf pans. Not having a greenhouse, I had to improvise a shelf across two chairbacks under a window in the kitchen. Since I'd planted loads of other things too, the shelf was rather crowded and not quite long enough. So.......I put a tray on the end of the shelf with about 1/3 of it extended beyond the shelf's end and put my delphinium seed trays there.(6 pans - 150 or so seeds).

Now for the spooky part. The seeds started germinating nicely and each day I checked on how many new babies were "born" overnight. About 10 days later, DH, a friend of his and I were chatting in the middle of the kitchen when suddenly, the tray s l o w l y tilted and dumped all six seedling pans onto the floor! It was almost as if someone had lifted the end of the tray. We looked at each other in disbelief and wondered if we had a plant ghost? Weirdest thing I ever saw.

Amazingly, some of the seeds in the coffee grounds germinated and were planted. I was reminded of this story because just this evening I transplanted seven of those delphs to a new bed.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2003 at 9:00PM
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Posie(z3 MN)

About 7 or 8 years ago I finally fulfilled a long time wish of mine and bought an Azalea which had beautiful blooms. One Spring my DH helped me clean out beds and he broke it all off (UGH)...bad mistake! It never came up again ........until this year! It appeared as if by magic, came up and bloomed! Goes to show that you should never dig up a semmingly dead plant.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2003 at 10:53PM
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littlebug5(z5 MO)

Well, this really isn't a GREAT story, but this is what I have to share . . .

My mother passed away several years ago and my father had her buried in his family plot in a little country cemetery near his ancestral home. Growing in the ditch along the road right beside the cemetery for years and years and years are some old common yellow and lavendar iris. The road department comes along regularly and mows them off.

So after my mother died, one of my sons and I took a shovel and dug up some of those iris from the ditch and brought it home. I've planted them in among my big fancy bright colored iris and they're some of my favorites, cause they're from "where my mother is."

    Bookmark   September 8, 2003 at 11:45AM
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This isn't necessarily my "best" story but its one that comes to mind...

when we moved into our first house and i started gardening in earnest, there was a scraggly dead little rose planted next to the driveway. Maybe 8 inches high. Unsightly. I thought i'd clean the area up, and dig it up.

I dug. I yanked. I whacked with shovel. I pulled at it as hard as i could..... I gave up.

A couple of months later, that rose had exploded and was growing all over the wall!

Ever since then, i'm not afraid to give my roses a little roughing up if they're looking sleepy...!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2003 at 3:11PM
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I don't have a plant with a story but I have memories of growing green peppers with my grandfather.He was the first one who taught me how to garden.He showed me how to poke holes with a pencil.Make rows with string.We planted a green pepper plant that grew taller than me at the time and had the largest green peppers I have to this day ever seen :)
He and my dad would go fishing and my grandfather would take the fish parts after cleaning and bury them around our orange trees and *my pepper plant*.I think that and the fact the faucet dripped all the time where it was planted were the two major reaons it turned into tree like form :).

Heidi S~

    Bookmark   October 28, 2003 at 10:47AM
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My story is of a 'sport' that I found this past summer. We were leaveing the house to drive to the airport in Little Rock,to catch a flight to the Gulf Coast to visit my DW's Mom and Dad, I had to send off a package ,so desided to take the back roads to the PO to drop off the package then on the way we go.

As we got to the Swamp, I noticed a unusal Flower growing along with the Impatiens and Rudbecka trilobia's, I stoped the truck and was out in a second ,looking at this 3 in. creamie yellow flower with a large dark colbalt blue spot on each of the petals, realizing that a Rudbeckia triloba seed had desided to change I'ts D&A, There was no time to go home to get our forgoten camera, Grrrrr, so we continued.

The next two weeks were the most agonizing in my life knowing that a cow would eat it or worst ,the County mowers would cut it to the ground.

It was late when we got home, and would go to the swamp at first light, when I arrived at the swamp I noticed that my flower was GONE, someone had got it!! but NO ,a differant flower was their were my beautiful flower once stood, to my amazement,the flower (on the wain) had changed once more to a smaller rusty red with a yellow oval spot on the petals.

To say the least ,were very thrilled to have this plant in our garden.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2003 at 3:06PM
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shortleaf2002(5b 6a KCMO, USA)

I have a story to tell about three Japanese Yews that I found in a trash pile Nov. 03'. I was told by my retired great-uncle about some Yews he saw laying in a refuse pile that was left by a church landscaping crew. They had just pulled these yews up and threw them away.

I went about two days later to see if they were still alive, they were, and still green. The roots were pointing up and they probably were starting to die. I grabbed them up and brought them home and planted them. Today all three of them are alive and well, very thick and green. I think they were there about 4 or 5 days total, the way my uncle talked. I got about 5 cuttings off of them last year and this Spring the cuttings are budding out!


    Bookmark   March 27, 2004 at 9:35PM
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Part one
I have a friend whose parents were among the founding members of the botanical society here, her name is
Martina and she loves all growing things. Her mother passed away in 1996 and the botanical names of many of the plants she inherited are unknown to her although she grew up with them. Her parents are Austrian and called their plants by their Austrian names, sometimes translating the Austrian to English.
When I first met her 4 years ago when she was dating my friend Charles. He brought her over one late afternoon for a visit, she'd brought a staggeringly beautiful plant with her that had been on my want list for a long time. Charles had it with him, he took her to the backyard and came to the door with one of it's flowers in his hand. I couldn't believe it when I saw him standing there, and tried to take the bloom, he was holding it out. He pulled it back and asked me what it was in a kind of challenging way. I thought he knew what it was and was testing me, lol, I said "It's a Gloriosa "Rothschildiana" of course!"
Welllll, it wasn't a test, Martina really wanted to know and was such a warm, adorable, lovely person that we bonded almost instantly. Down through the years we've just gotten closer and closer. I love her to pieces. I wish I'd known her mother, she sounds like a rather wonderful humanbeing.
I did meet their mutual friend, Nell, who is another wonderful and unique individual. Martina's a hero for introducing us. Her plants are amazing and she is passionate about them, and about life in general. She's 73 years young and can outwork most men I know. She's tough and knowledgeable and compassionate all at the same time. I think the world of this lady.

Part two
About the same time I met Nell I found Gardenweb and hooked up with a member in Mobile. We hit it off instantly, we had a lot in common and each was doing things that complimented the other. She's so wonderful, I don't know how to tell you how much I think of her. She's beautiful and smart, frank and earnest, honorable and ingenious.
Our first meeting was at the botanical gardens' fall sale, we had a great time because we were kind of kept busy answering the questions of the other shoppers there, we didn't get much shopping done, lol. She went back on the last day of the sale, she knew the left-over plants would be marked down. One of the plants that hadn't sold, marked at $8 a gallon, was a bunch of Clivia miniata, it was marked at $2. a gallon. Ginny already had plenty of clivias, including some nice yellows, but she was knowledgeable enough to know that she shouldn't pass up an opportunity like that so she bought a couple to give as gifts, one was for an old friend, the other was for me! I couldn't believe it, I had wanted one for sooooo long, it was such a sweet, thoughtful thing to do and I hope she knows how much she means to me.
I've had this clivia ever since, it's such a nice plant, such lovely long, orchid-like foliage. The whole growth...

    Bookmark   March 28, 2004 at 12:15AM
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puterputz(Florida 9)

My parents were living with my husband and I after my mother and best friend was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. My husband had bought some sunflower seeds and planted them in some egg cartons. We had a 1 year old Lab puppy name Lucy that would go outside every morning and when not being watched would get a hold of the seedlings and toss them about. My mother would go out and tend to them and replant them as best she could. There were about 30 to start. Mornings were times that mom and I would spend talking to each other. Fast foward to end of May, and mother was admitted to the hospital. She was dying and was in a nonresponsive state for 11 days out of her 16 days there. I lived at the hospital with her for 2 weeks and a day doing my best to take care of her. When I got home after she passed on June 7, 2006 I saw 2 sunflowers fully grown and in full bloom on the back deck. These 2 survived the months of Lucy's play because of my mothers loving care. You can go to her memorial website and see a picture of the sunflower at www.virtual-memorials.com . Search for Patsy Landis, you can click on the link that says Sunflower page. (By the time I took the picture of the sunflower it had been blown around and knocked over due to some storms and high winds so it does look a bit ragged.)

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 1:14AM
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wow, can't match some of these, but this just happened:

There's a big road construction project going on in a nearby town, & I spied a row of irises directly in front of a backhoe.

asked the backhoe operator if he was going to go around those irises.

& you know the answer.

asked if I could get them out (just happened to have my garden fork & a bunch of bags & boxes in the trunk...) & he said sure.

That hardpan clay was like concrete.

The irises probably hadn't been disturbed since they'd been planted 30 years or so ago.

the backhoe guy watched me struggle as long as he could stand it, & then he said he'd dig them up for me.

...& the garden fork broke.

so he got those irises out with the backhoe!

I planted 2 boxes of them yesterday, gave away a box to another heirloom plant person, potted up a bunch for a plant swap...& I still have dozens.

can't wait til next spring, when I hope to find out the true name of the "backhoe irises".

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 12:13PM
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As an anthropologist carrying out research in southern Africa, I spent over a year living on a homestead with a Swazi family in "the bush". Like all homesteads in the area, ours lacked indoor plumbing, and we visited a double-seated outhouse instead of a WC. One day, as I sat there, I felt something sort of drop onto me from above and slide down the front of my right shoulder before it dropped to the floor. I assumed it was a harmless gecko, and was shocked when I looked down to see a green mamba tensed at the doorstep just a foot or so from my ankles, trapping me in the outhouse. I didn't know what to do and, without thinking, I just yelled at it, "Leave me the [expletive] alone!" Nice as you please, the mamba lowered its chin back onto the floor, gracefully turned itself around, glided out the door, and disappeared into the long grass.

Just outside the door of this outhouse there grew an impressive specimen of Leonotis leonuris, commonly known in the west as "lion's ear". Beautiful plant, by the way, with a flower that looks a lot like a giant, glowing orange beebalm. This specimen was over eight feet tall (benefitting perhaps from its proximity to the outhouse). An interesting fact about the lion's ear - a fact I was as yet unaware of at the time of my encounter with the mamba - is that it has attached to it a local superstition: it is thought by many to protect one from poisonous snakes (kind of like garlic is supposed to fend off vampires).

From the seeds from this plant, which I collected and saved and brought back to the USA, I grew a beautifully ornamental stand of Leonotis in my backyard in Pennsylvania. It's an annual here, doesn't reach eight feet, and needs to be sown every year. But its really very attractive, and I have yet to see a garter snake in my garden.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 10:27PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

These are all such great stories.

I have a rose from our old house that we brought over here. When it was brand new and freshly planted my very big dog and I were going past it on our way for our usual walk. Ziggy was wagging his tail about something and the long hair on his tail caught on the rose and his wag just flipped it right out of the ground. The rose went flying across the driveway and landed in a pine tree. Ziggy looked around blankly and gazed at me as if to say, "Did you hear something odd just now?". Now we always call it the 'Ziggy Rose'.

Then I've got a Sedum dasyphyllum(?) that my Mom got over 50 years ago from a neighbor. I've still got it in the same pot! It grows just fine. If you think about it, 50 years is a long time for a potted plant. When my mom and dad and us kids moved into our house in 1972, the former owner left behind an epiphyllum which my mom had until she died in '05. I took a cutting and left the plant for the new owner, cutting is just about to blooom again...

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 4:29PM
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In the late 60's as a child we lived on a farm in a rental house in Western Ky. My husband and I visited the area in 1997 and rode out to the farm. It appeared that no one was living in the old house, so we rode down the lane to the house. I noticed a row of asparagus growing along a fence around one of the pastures and suddenly realized that my mom had planted it while we lived in the house. My mom passed away in 1981. I know it was wrong, but I had my husband use an old shovel from a shed on the property and dig up a clump of it. We brought it to our home in North Alabama and planted it. It is still alive and well today. My mom would be so proud to know that I still have a part of something that she planted so long ago. :-)

Another one- Coming home from sunrise services this past Easter AM I noticed a vacant house with a huge azelea (sp?) that had been uprooted out front by the road. We had had a heavy frost the night before, but it still looked pretty good considering. We hurried home and got our truck and went back and rescued it. It was so big my husband could barely lift it into the back of our truck. We planted it that afternoon and it is thriving. So much for curb shopping. LOL

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 12:40AM
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