Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

This is not the only bloom in the garden (Daylilies are rocking along and the first Gardenia of the season appeared a few days ago), but this one is appropriate to the holiday we observe today in the US.

This Rose of Sharon is one of several in our yard that are "heritage" plants. It came from my parents garden, but that plant came from my grandparents garden after (I think) being transplanted from my great grandmother's garden. I can't think of anything more appropriate to this holiday than a plant that comes complete with family memories.

This particular plant has some characteristics (an otherwise white flower combined with the red throat normally seen in the variety with a pink flower, the one in a Wiki picture) that suggest it might have resulted from one of the crosses that my grandfather did for his gardening amusement.

On a day when we remember the veterans of past wars, this is particularly appropriate. The grandfather who probably tended to this very plant served in the Great War, first as a combat engineer, then as an ambulance driver after a "touch" (his words) of Mustard Gas knocked him off the front lines. (Look here for related historical references.) I always think of him when I see this particular plant.

I always think it is rather remarkable that these plants (we have several clumps in different parts of the yard) have done so well in such different climates. It is many "zones" away from where it started, going from winters where the ground freezes solid to ones where the ground never freezes, from summers where 80 degree days are rare to ones where that temperature is common but the summer days are quite a bit shorter. The plant has been divided, transplanted, and divided and/or transplanted several times. It has traveled further than some of my students, and some of them could be older than I am!

PS - What this means is that this plant, or its relative, might have been in a picture that I plan to post real soon now.

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