Sues Mom’s Heirloom Iris
 I love this time of year.  Everything is green and lush.  Memories of loved ones we have lost are popping everywhere in the flower beds.  My  mothers’ Siberian iris were beautiful this year.  They started out in moms garden in my childhood home in New Jersey, to our home in Middletown NJ.  At that same time, my mother then dug a bunch for my dear friend Diane.  Diane, on her first visit to see us in Vermont ,  dug me a clump from her garden.  She explained that every year when the iris came up, she always thought of my mother who shared her delicate iris with her. Diane felt my mom had to come to Vermont too!   I am lucky to have a friend who thinks MY mother was special to her also.  This year like every prior year, Diane and I discuss how much we look forward to the iris blooming.   Our iris discussions have been going strong for close to twenty years and I am looking forward to at least another twenty!  


  The spearmint that I love to use in tea, fruit dishes, garnishing or anything I can think of, came from our sister-in-law (Bob’s brothers wife) Connie via her New Jersey garden.  She also brought it with her on one of her very first visits to us in Vermont.  She was happy to bring me a crop, since her yard was being invaded with the darn stuff!  It is now invading  various spots in my garden .  We sadly lost Connie this past May, so…. sorry folks, spearmint will be prominent at breakfast.  My little tribute to her.

Of course, last but not least, Bob’s grandfather’s orange tree comes out of the house.  We swear it stretches its branches towards the sun.  It is so happy for warm sunshine.  It even likes the rain.  (Saves me from dusting its leaves!)  Now, this isn’t just any orange tree….this tree is over 100 years old!  Yup, that’s  right,  over 100 years old.  Bob’s grandfather started it from a seed of an orange he had been eating.  During his teenage years, he got into bonsaiing and cut the tap root, so that it would not get too big.  When he passed away, Bob’s mother became the keeper of the tree for 20 or so years.  When Bob’s mother passed away in 1980, the tree took up residence with Bob.  Somehow, when we got married  I became the care giver.  (I don’t remember volunteering for the job)  This tree has moved with us everywhere we have gone.  Whenever we moved to a new house, the first requirement was….Is there a nice spot for the orange tree?  Now, Vermont, with its long, cold, not very sunny winters has been a challenge for our tree.   About 6 years ago, we brought it into the house at the end of September and by Thanksgiving it had 1 (yes, 1) leaf on it!  It stayed that way until February when it started to set new leaves and orange  blossoms.  We determined that it was root bound, so we took a sharp knife to its roots and gave it new soil and put it back into its pot.  I guess it liked “going under the knife”, because it is still growing strong.  Now, that it is outside, it will start to sprout an abundance of new leaves and many of the blossoms will set and the oranges will slowly start to grow.  They will stay green  long after the tree has been brought in for the winter, slowly ripening by spring.

I am constantly amazed at how easy it is to make those heirloom memories.  It doesn’t have to be about plants that still are thriving after all these years, it can be anything.    Remember a special time spent with a lost loved one, even if it was just sitting together over a cup of coffee.  Make a memory right now!

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