me, random

Ancestral Flower Choices

Frank Duval, September 1946
Frank Duval, September 1946


Yard work has been consuming me for about a week now.  I’ve been cleaning out flower beds and planting flowers in the pots on my porch.  I’ve been down in the dirt working hard to make my little corner of the world beautiful.  The late spring planting is my favorite time of year.  I love to have my yard and porch overflowing with flowers.

Yesterday I transplanted some pansies and cleaned up another flower bed.  As I worked I tried to think of the flowers my grandparents usually planted.  I was able to remember a few things.

My dad’s parents had several rose bushes and they would plant impatiens near the back patio.  My mom’s parents moved quite a bit and I only remember one outdoor plant – the lipstick plant.  My grandma called it that, and so that is the name I called it – fun name right?  I didn’t know for many years that it is actually called fuchsia.  It’s interesting to me that of the flowers I can remember from my grandparents homes, I have planted them all.  I planted one rose bush in the front yard of the first home we purchased.  In our current home I plant impatiens and fuchsia in pots all over my porch.  I often think of my two grandmothers when I tend my fuchsia and impatiens.

As I was caring for my pansies yesterday, I wondered if I had any photos of my grandparent’s flowers and found this photo of my great grandfather near a flower bed filled with pansies and small rose trees.  I have planted pansies every spring since we moved into our current home.  They are frost hardy so they make a good choice for early spring in Utah.  After looking at the flowers in this photo I imagine that next spring when I plant my pansies I will be thinking of my great grandparents.

I wonder what other flower choices my ancestors made?

Do you know what flowers your ancestors planted?

25 thoughts on “Ancestral Flower Choices”

  1. I wish I had a garden! I just have some pots out the front of our house as we have a car park behind ours that is shared by the houses surrounding ours.

    I have fond (but hazy) memories of my maternal grandmother’s garden as a child. I remember she had these little funny triangular pebbles that I used to like playing with because they were smooth. I think my brother took some home with him to use like sandbags for his toy soldiers.

    I always remember her having Forget-Me-Nots and rose bushes. At one point she had a problem with some local boys who would go through her garden and often make a right mess of it. I think Granddad liked to garden, I think he liked roses but as he died when I was 5 I don’t have a lot of memories of him. My grandmother moved to a ground floor apartment many years later after having a burst water pipe which ruined a lot of the downstairs of her old house. She didn’t have her own garden but liked having a little patch out the front where there were some rose bushes.

    My Dad’s maternal grandfather Albert apparently won prizes for his Gladioli. I do have a photograph of my Dad’s parents looking at some plants in their front garden with my Dad’s uncle Norman and his wife probably from the early 70s.

    My Mum does enjoy gardening, but their garden is a very steep one over several levels. She is finding it a bit hard going these days to keep up with it all, keeping it tidy etc.

    My sister is a gardener, so she knows a lot about plants! I’ve worked with her a couple of times – mainly doing grunt work like pulling up masses of ivy roots, or helping with planting hedging or digging up weeds! She also has an allotment and loves to grow her own vegetables. One day I’ll have a proper garden – but I have grown vegetables in the pots outside my house before. Should do that again this year!

    1. Smooth triangular rocks – intriguing. I bet those were a big draw to any children who saw them. In one home we lived in there were lovely gladioli and I always thought I would plant some but I never have. They are beautiful but tend to tip over.

  2. I’m very luck in that my mother is a HUGE gardener – and she learnt a lot from her father and her maternal grandmother. I have plants in my garden now that were taken as cuttings from plants my great-grandmother owned – and even some miniature daffodils that she grew! My grandfather always grew dahlias – which I dislike for some reason!

    1. I love that you have cuttings! I don’t have anything like that. My grandpa grew the best strawberries and I have tried over the years to figure out what variety they were but no luck so far. Miniature daffodils are so beautiful.

      1. I’m all kinds of lucky in the respect of my garden in that way!

        And these traditions of plant-sharing down the generations have to start somewhere – so who knows what’ll happen with your future generations?!

        1. True. My mom does often give cuttings of her ‘periwinkle’ which is actually vinca major. Several family members are growing it in their yards. Maybe I can work on some plant sharing traditions in my family.

          1. A plant that’s down near the bottom of my list – although it definitely has its good points!

            I think most gardeners are happy to share and swap seeds and cuttings and whatnot. Or maybe its just my mum who never goes anyway without her small gardening knife in her pocket – just in case there’s something she needs to snaffle up!!

            1. It’s not my favorite either. It looks great in the area she has it and hers does exceptionally well but I have never taken a cutting. I think it’s delightful that your mom is such a gardener!

  3. Peonies. They always remind me of my ancestors. If I see peonies and close my eyes to inhale their scent, it transports me back years to the long row of peonies on the fence line. Only problem with the tall bushy plants and theIr beautiful flowers is the darn big black ants they attract!

    1. I love peonies! I have a few that I planted as small roots about four years ago. I think this will be the first year that they will really be very large. I’m looking forward to some lovely blossoms!

  4. Just like Dominic’s grandfather, mine grew dahlias. I remember my pernickety Grandma would throw a fit every spring when he had to bring the dahlias up from the basement. He’d track dirt and water through her clean house. There’d be a perfect path up the basement stairs through the living room and out the back kitchen door. She’s always tell him that he was messy when he did it on purpose just to rile her up. Hah! Thanks for bringing up that memory. That needs to be a post.

  5. My maternal grandma had peonies, daylilies, phlox, hollyhocks, violets and one red tulip a squirrel planted for her. My paternal grandma had most of the same except the violets and tulip, she had tulips and daffodils but nothing planted by a squirrel.

      1. There were a lot of squirrels, mostly reds. There were tulips across the street but none of the neighbors on either side had any. One of the squirrels must have been digging around with all the acorns – there were lots of big mature red, white and burr oaks on the properties – found that nice, big, juicy tulip bulb and brought it over where it would be able to find it during the winter. But like a lot of acorns, the squirrel forgot and the tulip grew just fine. That was the only tulip around for quite a few years. Nana always said the squirrel was only following God’s orders by bringing her that bright red tulip. Thanks for following my literary blog, also have a genealogy one if your interested (

  6. Great story and what a wonderful tie-in to Spring! ! I always remember my grandparents house and their meticulous garden. I do not have any photos of them in their garden, but my Dad took tons of ME playing there as a toddler. I remember they had lots of rose bushes, something that I’m not brave enough to plant for myself.

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