Grandmother's Garden


I grew up listening to stories of my grandmother's prize-winning roses. She loved to garden and I have photos of her in various gardens she visited around the world. The two photos I have submitted are her house garden in Fort Payne, Alabama. One is from 1975 with my sister in the roses and the second is from 1981 with the three of us. Some time shortly after her death, the house and neighborhood were razed to put in commercial buildings. But I saved some cuttings and took them out to the family farm where they still thrive.

My grandmother's name was Evelyn. We're not sure when that garden was started, but my guess is possibly mid-1960s when they retired. My father said that it was actually her mother's, (my great-grandmother) Cara's garden. She lived next door at that time. Cara had a sister, Eva, who owned a greenhouse and every time they visited, Cara always came home with clippings and cuttings. We're not sure how the sisters got into gardening, but I believe that was a favorite pastime for women of that time (Cara was born in 1894 and possibly grew up with the Victorian influence). Eva could make anything grow and Cara liked designing gardens. Evelyn liked growing more practical things liked vegetables but she took over the roses when Cara's vision failed with age.

While I can remember having my own watering can and making small bouquets from the various flowers for the dinner table, my favorite memory is not actually with the roses. In the corner of the garden were tiny purple flowers that were just my size. I would pick tons of them to use with my dolls when I played. I found out when I was older that they were actually a weed called henbit that my grandfather would leave for me to play with when he mowed.

I was teenager when I took cuttings from the roses to start my first garden at my parents' house. It was right before the house was razed in the 1990s. There are still two bushes today but the rest have been turned over to a vegetable patch. There are still roses from the original garden growing wild at the old family farm but they are not tended and often get eaten down by the deer. I know when Cara gardened, she often gave away cuttings to friends and I do the same with my roses. It's nice to have a bit of heirloom to pass on.

I also inherited my grandmother Evelyn's green thumb and everywhere my husband and I have lived, I have planted a small garden. I always plant one rose bush for every year we've been married. When we move, it's hard to leave it behind but I hope that it brings a bit of joy to the new owners and it reminds me that each move is a chance to start anew.

Photos Show

The author's sister in grandmother's rose garden

The author's sister in grandmother's rose garden

The author's sister in their grandmother's rose garden, Fort Payne, Alabama, 1975. [View Additional File Details]

The author, her sister, and grandmother

The author, her sister, and grandmother

The author, her sister, and grandmother in the rose garden, 1981. [View Additional File Details]

Cite this Page

Amanda, “Grandmother's Garden,” Community of Gardens, accessed July 15, 2024, https:/​/​communityofgardens.​si.​edu/​items/​show/​12119.​
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