Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thanks Rusty Blackhaw, For An Absolutely Perfect Present

Today I planted the two Rusty Blackhaw seedlings that  I found growing under the Mother Tree in my front garden.  I was almost instantly transported to another time when a younger gardener met a very generous older gardener and was gifted five beautiful Viburnum rufidulum seedlings.

The rusty haw on Viburnum rufidulum

I had never heard the term Mother Tree before I met Amy, nor had I ever met a Rusty Blackhaw.   Her yard was the other natural garden in our neighborhood and I had really wanted to meet her.  I  had a chance to introduce myself to her early one morning when I saw her working in the garden.  During that serendipitous visit and garden tour she told me that her goal was to create a wildlife sanctuary that did not offend the neighbors who were, in her words, “traditional, lawn and foundation people".  She was a passionate and eloquent spokesperson for native plant gardening and wildlife habitats and I could tell how very much she wanted others to appreciate both.  When she offered me the Rusty Blackhaw seedlings I was sure she was being overly generous and even tried to talk her out of giving me so many.  She assured me that her Mother Tree would make more. I remember dancing home and making plans for my garden.

I was deeply touched by her generosity and know that I received far more that day than those five seedlings. 


This afternoon when I dug the seedling/suckering roots from the ground, gently teasing the roots and cutting  the baby away from the Mother Tree,  and then when I  planted them nearby,  I thought of that long ago generosity and kindness. I remembered the plans and dreams of the young gardener who danced home holding her little tree seedlings.  I thought about the years that have passed and the native plant and wildlife friendly garden I planted.  When I patted the last little seedling from my Mother Tree into the ground, I knew, without a doubt,  that she really had given me more than just those five little seedlings. 

Thank you Amy for my absolutely perfect Christmas present.

xoxogail

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone."

25 comments:

  1. What a lovely gift you have given to us, your readers, dear Gail. Baby plants, like baby anythings hold the promise of things to come, precious beyond measure.
    xxxooo
    Frances

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  2. She certainly did give you the gift that keeps on giving. What wonderful memories and a beautiful viburnum. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Your story has brought tears to my eyes, thank you for sharing it. Perhaps I should dig up the babies from my Common Blackhaw and find someone to share them with.

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  4. A nice passalong plant. What is better than to enjoy a tree, shrub or perennial remembering the friend whose kindness planted it in your garden?

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  5. Gail, love your story about Rusty Blackhaw! It is so underutilized in the landscape. It has it all...flowers, berries, leathery dark green leaves that have a subtle but beautiful fall color and it is as tough as nails. It is a great replacement for the Dogwood tree in more hostile growing conditions.

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  6. What a lovely post. There is no way anything could be more precious than a gift like that.

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  7. What a lovely story...and so indicative of just how generous gardeners tend to be :-)

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  8. Gardener's as always, spreading their wealth. Isn't that wonderful. I love seeds and seedlings.

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  9. What a wonderful story! She did indeed give a great gift, which you share with us in your writing. So I thank Amy too!

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  10. Planting memories. Isn't that what the best gardens are about?

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  11. Lovely story. You will have to gift someone else and keep passing on lovely memories.
    Happy Christmas!

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  12. I love this story. Thank you for sharing it and reminding us again, that gardeners are the most generous people...

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  13. That's such a great story and shows us just how our gardens can touch others. To spread the idea of a native garden is as simple as creating one and sharing our love for it with others.

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  14. This is one of my favorite understory trees. The new foliage in early Spring is one of my favorites as well.
    David/ :-)

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  15. Yes, what a wonderful story :-) Is there any shiny bobble or store-bought Christmas gift that could compare with a seedling from a gardener sharing her passion? I think not :-) Now we can thank you for sharing, too :-) Merry Christmas!

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  16. The gift of giving any time of year is so precious...thx for sharing and reminding us of this gift we have...

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  17. I love this story dear Gail, for it is universal while being unique. How lovely to have a generous neighbor such as Amy . . . and to continue the tradition of planting seedlings from your 'Mother Tree.' What a beauty she is! Lovely thoughts on giving. It would seem there was another seed planted within "the young gardener" at that time . . . I wonder if you have been able to share your enchanting wildlife garden with her? "She was a passionate and eloquent spokesperson for native plant gardening and wildlife habitats and I could tell how very much she wanted others to appreciate both." If I were to try to describe you dear Gail . . . I could not do better that copy your words used to describe your mentor. It is a beautiful story of how both plants and humans can spread seeds of life, thought and action . . . that will grow, mature and multiply. In this case it is all for the very best. Thank you for reaching out and spreading your love of native plants and wildlife gardening. You help make the world a better place for all life. Carol

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  18. What a wonderful gift you were given, Gail! The seedlings were a generous gift in themselves, but the gift your neighbor gave you in sharing her passion for native gardening was even better. You have passed along that gift multiple times over, to us, your readers, who have been inspired by your love of natives and wildflowers and learned so much from you. Thank you, Gail, and a very Merry Christmas to you!

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  19. What a lovely memory. Its nice to have special associations between plants and people.

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  20. I need some of those. How well do they do in clay soil?

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  21. Greggo, They thrive in it~That's what I have and some limestone! gail

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  22. Oh Gail - how lovely to remember those who helped plant seeds in our gardening soul. B.

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  23. Wishing you & yours a very Merry Christmas.

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  24. Wow, that is a lovely story! Our property here in the province is approaching to be a wildlife though it is small, but young seedlings are sprouting luxuriantly, and when i see indigenous tree seedlings i offer it to collectors, so they don't need to buy seeds anymore. I once gave >30 cycas seedlings and suckers to one! I hope my recipients are like you in taking care of their plants.

    Are you not posting the Wildflower Wednesday anymore? I've been waiting since 20 Dec clicking the link often, but none yet, haha! I just thought it will come up, as 12/22 is posted below the badge. My post waited actually for a week as i was late for the last. Merry Christmas and may you have the full 2012 blessings.

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  25. Gail, I loved this post. Don't we all have a gardener who mentored us into the kind of gardeners we are now? I have Wanda, and you have Amy. Merry Christmas my friend. I love the term "Mother Tree."~~Dee

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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