Planting a Legacy

I come from a long line of gardeners. My widowed grandmother lived with her 2 never-married sisters, and they won countless “yard of the month” competitions in Hoisington, Kansas. Caring for plants came naturally for these sisters. They knew exactly where to plant specific flowers, what chemicals to add to the soil for proper acidity, and how to lovingly care for the blooms in order to achieve maximum beauty.

When I became a homeowner, I could hardly wait to overhaul the landscaping in our new home. The first spring we removed much of the not-so-colorful landscaping and swapped it out for brightly colored annuals and perennials. We had no idea if we should be buying full sun, part sun, or shade plants. With full exuberance, we dug up the old, and planted the new. We spent all the money on all the things that promised to protect our new plants from weeds, help them bloom large blooms the first year, and survive the Kansas heat. Guess what happened? Barely any of the plants survived. We had a few hardy plants that survived despite our ignorance. It seemed that my predecessors’ green thumbs hadn’t exactly been passed on to me. 

The next spring, I paid a little more attention to the hours of sunlight our flower beds received, and we invested in plants that would thrive. We had learned a few painful and expensive lessons the previous year, and while we were a little bit more successful, we continued to dig in and still make mistakes.

Each year as I have my hands in the soil planting flowers, I can’t help but feel connected to my grandma. I think about the hours she spent kneeling down on her foam knee pad, digging the perfect spot for her treasured flower. Now that my grandmother has been gone for 18 years, I yearn to stay connected to her. I have come to enjoy the whole process of picking out flowers, digging, and nurturing them daily with watering and feeding, because I reminisce about the many gardening experiences I shared with her in her greenhouse and yard.

Without trying, Grandma taught me about faith as she trusted the process of preparing, planting, and patience while waiting for her blooms. She also taught me about nurturing. She instilled in me the importance of paying attention to the details that make a difference in the outcome. These lessons have helped me through my motherhood journey and have influenced me to encourage my children to come alongside me and connect to gardening. I share stories of Grandma Moon as we work together to bring a little beauty to our neighborhood and home. My children never had the opportunity to meet their great-grandmother, but through the experience of gardening, they have come to know her.

In my family, we appreciate planting and gardening. My Grandma’s love and skill for gardening has become her legacy. We appreciate the opportunity to honor and remember our ancestors through it. Your family legacy may be travelling, art, fishing, or baking.

What things do you enjoy doing to honor and remember your ancestors?

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