I love heirloom flowers and tomatoes. But for real heirlooms, I love plants that have actually been handed down through the generations themselves.
Some of the best inheritances (and indeed most of the inheritances I have ever received) have been other people’s plants. These plants have generally been the most successful parts of my garden.
My Great-Aunt Rosemary left her sister (my grandmother), who since handed it down to me, a lovely jasmine that has thrived with a little summer vacation (and has been the star of another post.)
The same grandmother also gave me LOTV and a tiny cutting of lady’s mantle, now a huge plant.
My Aunt has given me MANY plants- including tradescantia (hardy and non-hardy)- her favorite; cacti, succulents, spider plants, geraniums, coleus cuttings and countless others.
My parents started my lilac hedge with the double royal purple cutting which this year has reached over my head for the first time.
My sister gave me three mysterious bulbs: I cannot wait to find out what they do.
A dear friend gave me some lovely everblooming bleeding hearts that have spawned many progeny and live quite happily in my garden.
Neighbors have been very generous. One neighbor gave me an iris cutting because he happened to see me outside. My old neighbor in the blue house gave me some sedum, and the new neighbor in the blue house gave me a lovely blue veronica, which just bloomed yesterday (I’ve seen it blooming beautifully in her yard, she does seem to have the right touch with plants).
Most of my violets have come from friends as cuttings from their own collections.
The owner of Betty’s Country Daylilies in Dodgeville, Wisconsin– which, sadly, no longer exists, allowed my husband to dig up a huge patch of dianthus, some filipendula and his favorite plant of all time: Stachys Lanata- we call them bunny ears (we never see lambs ears around here) from her enormous garden. Every one of the plants she gave us (and the many daylilies we bought) have thrived beyond our expectations.
Although you can start a garden without friends and family- I don’t know why you would want to. The best things in life are free, indeed.