Friday, January 18, 2013

Grandma Peggy's Pink Geranium

Like others I have read, some of them among my favorite blog friends, I associate things with the people who gave them to me, or who just owned them before I did.

Thus our dining room table, which belonged to my mother's mother before me....and possibly even to HER mother before her....has its own history and provenance, from Thanksgiving dinners with all the kids and our beloved uncle hogging the mashed potatoes over in our corner and calling ourselves the allied union, to cousins getting first aid on its shiny veneered top.

And this odd and that end and the other knick knack, bowl, or potato masher has a bit more meaning to me than just a tool that could be replaced with a fancier one if I ran to WalMart.

So it is with plants. I still have the very first plant I was ever given, an old-fashioned pink Christmas cactus my mother gave me when I still lived at home. I have a big split-leaved philodendron that came from a get-well bouquet sent to someone I cared about who died decades ago.

When the boss's mother passed on I kept all her plants. She and I had a stormy, difficult, relationship but I loved her deeply, and I know she cared a lot for me. In keeping the flowers and greenery she loved alive I feel a lasting connection, one that I seem to need as the years go by. Plus I love my keeps me happier in the winter when everything outside is white and grey, and gives me flowers in the summer to bring the hummers closer.

Thus I learned to propagate her fox tail fern.

And over the years I have nurtured her double-flowered pink geranium. This is a plant of a now-unpopular kind, robust and leggy, and massive. If not cut back it sprawls for feet and feet and even yards, waving its rose-like blossoms at the end of teetering stalks.

Last fall I did hack it down, ruthlessly, but didn't have the heart to toss the cuttings out. I rooted them...all of Grandma Peggy's....that's what my kids called her...antique mason jar.

Yesterday I potted them.

In the midst of the cold, dark heart of winter she was near. I hope she knows I loved her.


Cathy Monroe said...

How nice that you have such memories of people. I can't keep plants for that long, but when I trim some, I do try to root the cuttings.

Earl said...

The treasures you can hardly explain, are always a memory trip when felt, that you get to grow them, even better.

Cathy said...

Dang it. Tears are stinging my eyelids.

I thought you'd reached the summit with this great line: " . . to cousins getting first aid on its shiny veneered top."

. . . . but No . . .and now they're streaming down my cheeks and I'm gonna have to redo my makeup.

Thank you. Truly.

Alouise said...

I feel the same connection to my Grandma Lachmayer, when I use her little grey granite strainer in the sink, and dump onion peels it it. She used to color hard boiled egs at Easter time with onion peels. I have my mother's potato masher, but she is always near to me. Your father's mother is expecially close too. I user her teflon lined pan for lots of things I bake, and her plastic bowl is in use almost every day when I make cakes or cookies. Strange how the seem to hang around in our lives. Do you suppose it is love?
Your mom

Terry and Linda said...

What a beautiful post. You even brought tears to my eyes...I have trouble letting family treasures pass on also. And it upsets me horribly when I pass something on to my kids and they take it to donate store...It only happens once, but after that they are not given anything. When I die I don't know how everything will be dealt with, but I suppose I won't care anymore.


Nursejoan said...

OMG - do I ever know the feelings. Love that you are able to propagate and nuture memories! My Nana & Mamaw shared these same gifts with me. Sadly, the next generation after me doesn't "get" the same feeling (@ Linda)

lisa said...

Next time you go a hacking I would love a clipping. I didn't get to spend much time with her but she sure was a fantastic lady!

threecollie said...

Cathy, I end up with more than I know to do with

Earl, well said and exactly right

Cathy, on one hand, thank you...on the other, sorry about that.

Mama, I think it might and the memories of love. Speaking of which, I love you!

Linda, thanks, and boy, do I hear you on that. My own kids are great about such things. Either they keep them and treasure them or have me hold them until their circumstances are different. There are a couple of other folks I have passed along stuff too though....

Nursejoan, thanks, I am so lucky in my kids. They grew up with grandparents and great aunts and uncles as well as immediate family and so they understand the value...

Lisa, I will make sure this set of cuttings gets a good start and then you can have them. I just have them in a dollar store hanging pot, but you can put them in something bigger so they will do well. They are quite showing in summer.