On Saturday, my heirloom tree peony started to bloom. This crepe paper flower came from my grandmother’s garden after she passed away in 2001. She most likely planted it some time in the 1940’s. They are fussy about being moved and we were not sure that our respective pieces of the root would survive. I believe that three out four pieces made it. I babied mine for over a year and I think it is finally established; there is a little more new growth each year, but so far not more than 3 flowers. Anyway, yesterday it was fully bloomed and is very showy and the size of a dinner plate. My sister says it looks kind of decadent.
My Grandma Teeters was a wonderful gardener and it’s special to have a little piece such an old plant that she cherished and cared for. She cultivated a large ‘collector’ garden developed over 65 years and very large vegetable garden that fed her family through the depression and well in to the 1980’s. I have a number of plants that came from her yard, many of which were what she called ‘Friendship Plants’. She and her gardening and garden club friends regularly traded new finds and seeds, many of which were collected from the wild on hikes and trips around Washington and beyond. So, in many respects I have a legacy garden and I continually think of my grandma and all that I learned from her, including friendship gardening.