Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Old Place - Part Four - The Plants

When we first moved to the little house on Paine Street there didn't appear to be much growing there. There were a couple of walnut trees, but, as far as we could tell, that was about it. 

Purple Crocuses
During that first winter we discovered that a few tiny, purple crocuses were growing on the south lawn. I was so excited about them and had to call my mom to tell her! Purple crocuses had always been one of her favorite flowers and, growing up, she and I would look forward to seeing which would come first...the first crocus of the season or her birthday (2/8). To this day I still anticipate the arrival of the first crocus and I still wonder which will come first. 

At first there were just a few, but now a sea of purple crocuses grows
along the south side of the little house on Paine Street. 
At first there were just a few crocuses; by the time we left the entire south lawn of that place was nothing but a sea of little purple crocuses. My husband moved some of them over to the new house when they were through blooming this past winter. Then, Carla and I dug through the dirt to find several of the tiny bulbs last week and I have planted more of them, so, hopefully, by February 8, 2018 there will be little purple crocuses blooming on Hill Street. 

Other plants that hold a special place in my heart are...

Keith Miller's Lavender Irisis
The lavender irises that smell like grapes. A friend started me off with just a few corms of them several years ago and the things grew prolifically! By the time we moved I had enough corms to share with everyone I know that wanted any and have several beds of my own ringing old tree stumps on Hill Street. 
Herbs in the Herb Wheel

The herb garden. Years ago I read in some homesteaders handbook about using an old wagon wheel as an herb bed. I really liked the idea, so we tracked one down and it became our herb bed. Over the years we grew basil, sage, rosemary, parsley, thyme, lavender, and oregano between the spokes of that wheel. At the moment the only herbs we have growing on Hill Street is basil that my husband planted in a big tub. But, we managed to dislodge the old wagon wheel on Paine Street and have moved it over. Next spring it will be put to use, once again, as an herb bed here.

Hens and Chicks
Hens and chicks. I don't remember who gave me starts of these, but they grew in this pot just outside my front door most of the 14 years spent at the little house on Paine Street. Each year I would thin them out, give them away or sell them, and each year they would just continue to grow beautifully and spread. I have moved starts over and hope that they take as hens and chicks tend to be quite tricky in getting started.

Oriental Lilies (a.k.a - Dorothy Walker's Birthday Flowers
Oriental lilies. The bulbs for these came as a free gift in a catalog order we had placed. I didn't really care for them too much when they first bloomed, but they came to be quite important to me over the years. The elderly lady that lived next door to me on the other side of the circle drive had a birthday in June. She was a shut-in and couldn't get out and about, but she loved flowers. Every year, just about the time of her birthday, these flowers would bloom and she LOVED them! Each year on her birthday I would present her with a bouquet of them and the flower became a special bond between the two of us. Those last few years, before old age and illness took her away from her home, she would call me that first week of June. "Do you think you're going to be able to bring me flowers for my birthday again this year? Are they making out okay this year? Does it look like they're going to bloom in time?" And it's funny...they always bloomed in time and, most often, the first blooms of the year came the day before, or on the day of, her birthday. Those flowers truly turned out to be a gift of God for both of us. 

Flowering Quince
Flowering quince. When we first moved in these bushes grew between our property and the one next door; over the years new babies began to creep over into our yard. By the time we left there were lots of these pretty, pink-flowered beauties and I so enjoyed them. I didn't get any starts of them though, because, when Carla and I were digging up flowers, by the time we got to that point, my shovel handle had broken. Maybe I can get back over there and grab some before anything happens to them.
The Grapes Given To Me By The Kids For Mother's Day
My grapes. The kids got me these for Mother's Day one year. Over the years they've provided many a jar of grape jelly for the whole family. Unfortunately, I couldn't move them, so my plan is to turn the vines into a great big wreath.

There are so many other plants that were of sentimental value. I think the one that I had to leave behind that I'm going to miss the most is the pawpaw tree. 

English Ivy
The one that I'm going to miss the least is the English ivy. What started out a single plant turned into a house-climbing, roof-infiltrating, out-of-control nightmare! Had the house been brick or stone it wouldn't have been so bad, but on a house with old siding...well...when we tried to pull the ivy off, it would pull the siding off with it. By the time we realized what was happening and tried to do something about it, it was too late. It was a mess. We tried spraying it, cutting it, pulling it up at the roots, etc. Nothing worked and we finally gave up. I don't ever want English ivy again!

Well, that's enough. I had planned on writing another post or two in this series, but have decided not to. It's out of my system now and I think I'm okay with everything now. Thanks for letting me ramble on and on about old memories at the little house on Paine Street. It's a new day and it's time to move on...literally! 😆

Until next time...


  1. I enjoyed seeing your flowers at the "old place". My mom had a flowering quince for many years at her house. I always thought they were so pretty. I remember they had a type of hard green fruit on them that smelled very good to me when I was a kid. I never ate any of them, so I don't know if they are edible.

    Your crocus are pretty. I like the way they are coming up in bunches, I have the same type of crocuses in my yard as you do, but they don't seem to come up in bouquet type bunches like yours do. My mom used to have some very large dark purple ones that came up every year. Mom had a lot of flowers that I never see anymore, I guess they would be called "heirloom" varieties of flowers. It is always a thrill to me to see the first crocus, too. It always reminds me that spring really is coming around again.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Susie! I appreciate you taking the time to drop in and comment. Flowering quince is so pretty! The fruit is edible and can be made into a nice jelly. My mom had some of the large dark purple crocuses like your mom had and yellow ones, too. I'd like to find some of those someday and get them planted here, too. Maybe I can order some of those and some quince at the same time and get them established next spring. Thanks, again, for dropping in and saying hello! Have a blessed rest of the week! <3


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