When I was a child, we were allowed to stay with our grandparents for a week in the summer. In reality, this was so our parents could go on vacation without us children, but we didn't know that, and we looked forward to it as much as our parents did! I don't know if my grandparents looked forward to it, or just accepted it, but it was the highlight of our summer.
My paternal grandfather was a farmer. Watermelons, mostly. The secret to watermelon farming is to get them sold by the 4th of July weekend. After that, the public's appeal for watermelon quickly subsides.
My paternal grandmother was a hard working woman. Mostly in the kitchen. We would play outside, but we could always look at the kitchen window and see Grandma standing there at the kitchen sink. No dishwashers back then, except the human kind. Dinner always took hours to prepare. Freshly caught, plucked, and fried chicken was a staple. Fresh tomatoes, fresh corn, beans, peas, or whatever was picked from the garden, was lovingly prepared. Watermelon, of course. Hot chocolate milk, the old fashioned kind with sugar and cocoa stirred in and heated on the stove, was a bedtime treat.
I don't remember my grandmother having a garden of flowers. In fact, the only flowers I remember her having were two giant hydrangeas flanking the porch steps. The large blue mopheads captivated my imagination. I was amazed at the size of the blooms, and of their beautiful sky blue color. At night we would sit outside and gaze at the sky. We would locate the north star, big dipper, determine the phase of the moon, and sometimes see a falling star. It was magical.
And the hydrangeas were witness to all our conversations. I could make out their shape in the moonlight. It was mesmerizing.
I grow hydrangeas as a remembrance of my grandmother. And, too, of my childhood. Of that wonderment and amazement I remember every time I see their blooms.
I heart hydrangeas.
I think they heart me back!
I'm linking up with Tracie at Fishtail Cottage for Cottage Flora Thursdays.
Sweet post! It's the BIG blue mopheads that remind me of my grandmother too.ReplyDelete
Growing up on a farm I can relate to this post. I bet your grandparents were happy to have you stay with them. Sounds like you have wonderful memories of those days.ReplyDelete
I love hydrangeas too, though I never knew what they were until about a decade ago. Now I keep planting different kinds all over the place. I went back and read several of your earlier posts and so enjoyed seeing your new mystery lily. What amazing coloration it has! I am like you when it comes to flowers blooming, I watch them like a hawk and can't wait to see what gift will be unfurled.
I heart hydrangeas, too, though I don't have such a meaningful connection to them. What a wonderful post this is. Summer for me as a child was similar - all those fresh vegetables, watermelon, days playing outdoors all day.ReplyDelete
Really lovely post.ReplyDelete
LOVE Hydrangeas too - beautiful story - love that you've planted them in honor of your grandmother - If I could I'd have them all over my garden!ReplyDelete
Love the comment about a week at grandma's being for your parents who were going away. We do the same to our kids now and don't think they know it's not only for them.ReplyDelete
My grandfather was an avid gardener, especially his beloved roses. The images still stick in my head today even though I have struggled to grow them for years now. You never forget those images.
Fantastic post and story!
I heart hydrangeas too which is also what my post is about today. I love the blue hydrangeas but I haven't been able to make mine blue again after I've transplanted them. Yours are soooo beautiful!ReplyDelete
Happy cottage flora Thursday!
Love this post Holley. Gardens are so much more meaningful when they are connected to sweet memories.ReplyDelete
Great post, Holley. The shape of that last mophead is very cool. Your grandmother would be proud!ReplyDelete
Even though unfortunately I don't have any fond memories of grandparents and hydrangeas, I love hydrangeas, too. I am always fascinated that they are able to change colors related to the acidity level in the soil. Mine are pink right now, but I would love to get them as blue as yours are. Time to put more soil sulfur down :-)!ReplyDelete
What special memories of your grandparents. That's the memories I want to leave for my grandchildren!!! The Hydrangeas you have are exqusite. Love the color. Thanks for coming by my little corner of oz.ReplyDelete
What a beautiful posting. I have similar fond memories of my Grandmothers flowers that I just had to add to my own gardens in remembrance. We all lived close together here when I was small and I think we cousins were always there underfoot. LOL!ReplyDelete
I love hydrangeas also and have several in my garden beds.It will be a while yet before they bloom but I always look forward to when they bloom. What a wonderful heart shaped bloom.
I heart hydrangeas as well, but I must ask, what is the rose shown on the homepage? It's stunning!ReplyDelete
How cool is your love of them due to your family memories and that the last one is heart shaped.ReplyDelete
What a beautiful post, I love hydrangeas too! And how wonderful to have so many gorgeous memories of your childhood tied to them. Makes them all the more beautiful!!ReplyDelete
Re your comment on another blog, you can get American wisteria from Rare Find Nursery: http://www.rarefindnursery.com/index.cfm/action/productdetail/product_id/3696.htm. I love it.ReplyDelete
Your childhood visits to your grandparents sound absolutely idyllic. I love the last photo--so funny.ReplyDelete
What a lovely post. I love hydrangeas too, but they do not grow down here. Too hot and humid. I love the heart shaped bloom, that is really something.ReplyDelete
Enjoy ~ FlowerLady
I love this post Holley! Its wonderful when you can re-visit happy memories in your garden :)ReplyDelete
Oh, they are gorgeous! I love the blue ones and I want to add one to my tiny garden. The last picture is so cute.ReplyDelete
I love how we associate plants with a person or time! My grandmother also didn't grow much (farm women did not have time or resources to waste on non-edible plants), but she had yellow roses on the side of her house, and portulaca in pots, now two of my favorites!ReplyDelete
Darla - Funny how plants can remind us of the people we love.ReplyDelete
Karen - We lived in town, so going to the farm was an exciting adventure for us. We felt free!
Ginny - So many kids nowadays don't get to play outdoors. It's sad to me. They don't know what they're missing.
Mac - Glad you stopped by.
Kathy - When my sisters come to visit, they always remark that the hydrangeas remind them of Grandma, too.
ONG - I think we love the things that are sentimental to us. Enjoy your time without kids. They probably have a blast without you! We always thought it was such a treat!
Marie - I love them no matter the color, but they are generally blue in this area.
Carolyn - I agree. It's comforting to me that my love of flowers may be passed on.ReplyDelete
Grace - I was so enthralled with the shape of that hydrangea bloom. It was the inspiration for the post.
Christina - They are naturally blue here, as our soil is very acidic. I've never seen the pink ones in a garden here, just in the garden centers. After a year, they're blue again.
Ann - I want to leave fond memories like that with my grandchildren, too.
Lona - Our cousins were usually there, too. Oh, the stories!!!
Tom - It's Gruss An Aachen. I love it.
Olive - I love that heart-shaped bloom, too. Different than most, but very sweet.
Julia - Yes, I would still love hydrangeas I suppose. But I'm not sure I'd insist the garden have them without the tie to my memories.
Kat - Thanks for coming by.
Carolyn - Thanks so much for the information! I appreciate it, and your sweet comments.ReplyDelete
FlowerLady - I didn't realize they didn't grow in Florida. I figured Texas was as hot and humid as it comes!
Gardening Blog - I have a lot of memories tied to plants. I love it that way. I can take a trip down memory lane anytime I want in my garden. I would have it no other way.
Olga - I hope you do add one. The big blooms are incredible, very eye-catching. They also dry well for inside decoration.
Cynthia - You are right about them not having the time to grow non-edibles. I remember my grandmother's hands being so cracked from washing dishes all the time. If I had to do all that, I wouldn't want to garden for flowers, either. Your grandmother's yellow roses must have been fabulous.
I, too, have many childhood memories wrapped up in flowers! I loved your story. That's the kind of food I grew up on, including the watermelon! As I grow older, the more I appreciate simple, everyday joys. Good food, the warmth of family, the beauty of flowers, watching the stars...it is the good life!ReplyDelete
Such a sweet and heartfelt post. I feel the exact same way about my grandparents and the hydrangeas that grew in their gardens. Nice tip on the watermelons.ReplyDelete
Deb - I agree - it's the good life. Simple, relaxed, yet hard work and productivity.ReplyDelete
Tina - It's wonderful to have a plant that will reminds us of the fun things we did as a child, and the love we felt, isn't it?
Oh my your hydrangea's are gorgeous...I am completely jealous!!! As you saw on my blog mine are too small. I love the last one shaped like a heard. You are one lucky gal :)ReplyDelete
Oh, this brings back so many, many memories! Thanks for making me recall some of the most wonderful moments of my childhood. It's almost as if we lived in parallel universes!ReplyDelete
Dear Holley, What a beautiful story -- beautifully told, beautifully illustrated! I was with you in your grandmothers garden, sharing secrets in the night. Many of my flowers prompt a memory. They make our gardens so very meaningful. P.ReplyDelete
I heart hydrangeas, too!! But I struggle to get enough acid into my lime-laden soil. I dug all of them up last fall and put sphagnum moss around the root balls hoping that would hold the acid that applied. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.ReplyDelete
Holley, your grandma sounds like my nana. She's why I have hydrangeas, but hers were blue and mine are deep pink. They didn't live on a farm just a small town in Alabama. We all drove down from Connecticut for summer vacations. The vegetable truck would come down her dirt street early in the morning and then we'd snap peas on the front porch. And she made her heavenly biscuits on the Hoosier cabinet in a wooden bowl with my chin resting on the metal counter. Thanks, Holley, for the sweet reminder.ReplyDelete
Beautiful hydrangea - especially love that one that is called "lace cap"? Thanks for sharing your post at Cottage Flora Thursday's! xoxo, tracieReplyDelete
What an idyllic vacation and lovely memories 'tangled up in blue' mopheads. Such a pretty colour. I remember the proper hot chocolate too from my Grandmother. Memories of her are roses, roses all the way though where she found the time to tend to them as well as us beats me. I only grow the ramblers and climbers that sort themselves outReplyDelete
A lovely post and beautiful pictures. I love Hydrangeas too but am having the hardest time getting some going in my current garden. I've grown them before in Pacific North West and they were amazing! I shall keep trying because they are truly of my favorites.ReplyDelete
P.S. I am having luck with 'Pink Winky' in a pot but having a harder time with Oakleaf Hydrangeas...
Lovely hydrangea heart. These I must admire in another's garden. Much too hot for them here, unless I had deep shade for them to lurk in ;~)ReplyDelete
I heart hydrangeas, too. In the last few years, they have become one of my favorite flowers. I love the heart shaped hydrangea...just too cute!ReplyDelete
Shannon - They will grow. The heart shaped one brings a smile to my face each time I see it. It's still there, made me smile this morning.ReplyDelete
Cathy and Steve - You mean your parents tried to get rid of you, too, in the summer? ;)
Pam - I agree, the memories make the garden much more special to the gardener. Without them, it would just be flowers.
Nancy - I never heard of putting spaghnum moss around the base. I hope it does the trick for you.
Sherry - Oh, I remember snapping peas. A way to keep our little fingers busy!
Tracie - I love the lacecaps, too. They are almost pink in my garden!
PatioPatch - How wonderful to have rose memories. The hot chocolate tasted so deliciously. No one hardly ever goes to that much trouble anymore.
igardendaily - I would have to keep trying, too. Good luck with them. I've not seen any pinky winkys. I hope it thrives for you.
Diana - Mine are in deep shade, so I imagine even that wouldn't help you out. They don't seem like a plant that really 'goes' with Africa!
SageButterfly - They are a great plant. And the blooms last so long. They get a bad rap for being a water hog, but I don't mind them dropping a bit in the afternoon. I feel that way, too, in the heat!
I love this post! I also heart hydrangeas, and yours are beautiful. I love blue ones. Although my grandparents did not live on a farm, your story makes me nostalgic for my own grandmother who was also a hardworking woman in the kitchen, and always at the sink or in front of the stove! (No dishwasher OR microwave back then). How fortunate that you have good memories of your grandparents and farm-fresh food!ReplyDelete
Oh! What a lovely memories and stories. Hydrangeas are one of my favorites too. I love all your gorgeous photos, but that heart-shaped pom is just too much! Amazing!ReplyDelete
LOL at your perfect heart hydrangea! I love hydrangeas, like you and others love roses. I wish I could have all the varieties. I only have Snowball, Pink Elf and Summer? blue. Limelight is my new favorite!ReplyDelete
Bumble lush - We forget sometimes how easy we have it compared to then. Days were spent predominately in the kitchen, the work never seemed to end. The farm-fresh food is a rarity nowadays, too.ReplyDelete
redgardenclogs - I was tickled to see the heart-shaped bloom, too.
Gabrielle - Gosh, I have not heard of most of those hydrangeas. I bet your place is gorgeous when they all bloom. I do have a Bridal White, but its had a hard a hard life (due to some visiting dogs) .
I love Hydrangeas too ~ Your photos are fabulousReplyDelete
Happy Memorial Day weekend!
Your hydrangeas are gorgeous. I am growing them too. How wonderful that the fond memories with your grandma lives on in you beautiful garden. Happy Memorial Day weekend!ReplyDelete
Marie - Happy Memorial Day weekend to you, too!ReplyDelete
Autumn Belle - I have a lot of memories in my garden of different loved ones. It brings me much happiness.
What a lovely post! I think that is what we are all trying to create for our kiddos now by gardening, cooking and such. Just a little taste of what the idea childhood should be. Lovely, inspirational post!ReplyDelete
What a lovely heart! I have one variegated hydrangea (in a pot) that I am still trying to place. No shade in the new home so for now it is under some shade cloth. How fast can I get a trash tree started?ReplyDelete
Kelsey - And it all does sink in, though it may not seem like it for a while. Keep creating for your children - they will appreciate it!ReplyDelete
Tufa Girl - I have most of mine planted on the north side of the house, the traditional place to plant a hydrangea in the South. Otherwise, the shade cloth is a great idea. The tree will grow faster than you realize!
I enjoyed this post Holley. Your hydrangeas are a beautiful way to honor your grandmother and keep the beautiful memories fresh in your mind. My grown children have been giving me gifts of flowers for about two years now. I think they are beginning to love coming home and seeing the beautiful gifts that keep on giving.ReplyDelete