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May 12, 2014

Heirloom Tulips

Growing up, I never noticed plants and flowers. They were something a part of my world that I sort of took for granted. I had no clue how much time and care it took to plant flower beds or a garden.

I didn't develop a love for plants and flowers until I started dating my now husband. His home wasn't landscaped. The grass grew up to his house. He had mowed off anything his great grandmother planted. He just didn't want the maintenance. I can't blame him. He was a busy farm bachelor. It was odd seeing a house that didn't look like a home, though. I decided one summer I was going to landscape it for him. Border, mulch, bushes and all. Flowers (bulbs and perennials) intimidated me at the time.

I had no clue what I would be getting myself into when I made this spur of the moment decision. Not only then, but now. It was then that I had developed a love for taking care of plants and watching them grow. When we built our new house, I wanted as much landscape as I could possibly handle. I enjoy mulching, weeding, grubbing and planting. And I can't stop.

Sometimes I like to think that maybe I developed this passion from my paternal grandmother. I've been told that she could make anything grow. Anything and everything. Now, I can't say that I can make anything grow. I've killed several potted tomatoes and I've lost quite a few perennials in my flower beds including some tulips from Lowes. However, I'd like to think I am doing the best I can for as little as I know. It all takes time as there is so much to learn about the different types of plants, our climate and our soil types.

Two years ago this spring, 2012,  my dad asked if I would like some of my grandmother's tulips from her house. She had passed away when I was in 7th grade and the house has been rented out since then. When we dug up the tulips, they had already bloomed so I didn't get to see what they looked like. I decided to plant them out by a rock we have in the corner of our yard. There's a story behind that rock but I will save that for a different day.

 Last spring of 2013, the tulips came up but bunnies, deer or something had eaten away at the flowers before I could even see them. I was SO depressed. I really wanted to see what my grandmother's tulips looked like in my landscaping.

As you know, we recently have just gotten out of a very long winter and I was ANXIOUSLY waiting for my grandmother's tulips to come up this spring. I prayed that nothing would eat them before I was able to watch them bloom. I went out towards the rock every day this last month checking on their progress. The leaves came up and I could see the buds for about a week straight. 

 Sure enough, 2 out of the 3 sections I planted bloomed! The third section was eaten away by something once again this year. I was hoping for a triangle of tulips in front of the rock but I suppose we will just have to settle for a group of two, staggered. 

I consider these tulips one of my most prized possessions. I never knew that plants could be passed down from generation to generation. My grandmother developed Alzheimers when I was young so I was never really able to get to know her and witness her gardening skills in person. These tulips are a piece of her that I will always have. 

Despite her disease and her inability to continue caring for her flower beds, her passing and the many years of renters living in the home, these tulips came up every year.

Much like children, if you give a plant a good foundation and a lot of care in the beginning, it will flourish on it's own eventually. 

Do you have any heirloom plants from prior generations in your flower beds? 


  1. How awesome that you have something of your grandma's! They are lovely! I have a few tulips planted, but because of where they 'live' the wind beats them to death and they only last a day or so. I have hostas and peonies that are from my mom's garden!

  2. What a beautiful connection to your grandmother! All of my plants, except for a few have come from family members and loved ones. Such a joy to watch the plants grow and bloom. Great post Kelly!

  3. This is so beautiful :) What a treasure to have from your grandmother. I look forward to the day I can pass down heirloom seeds to my kids and grandkids.

    I was just helping my mom with her flower garden this weekend, and she was pointing out all the varieties she's going to give me so I can always have a piece of home, even when I purchase a new home :) It's like the gift that keeps on giving!

  4. Yeah for you, Kelly!

    My Great Grandma died in January of 2000. Grandpa's 4-H Club sent an umbrella plant for the funeral and I got it. I have the original and a second plant I started from it. This is one hardy plant as it has moved with me many times (during college and shortly after I moved a lot).

    The lilacs in our front yard where transplanted by J's Grandma from her childhood ranch. I also get to tend the rhubarb that she planted when she was living on the ranch.

  5. This is lovely, Kelly! I really enjoy getting to visit with my Mamaw and splitting off a perennial here and there to enjoy in my landscaping. She's also notorious for handing you a bag of seeds she's saved. Good times. Thanks for your post.

    AND thank you for the Country Fair Blog Party button. It's quite lovely. Thank you for sharing your skills with all of us.

    Emily Grace

    1. Thank you, Emily! It was a fun post.

      And you are quite welcome for the party button. It was a blast to make and a good way to put my skills to use :)


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