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A Tiger Lily Tale


On a recent shopping trip to "WallyHell", I was greeted with a large display of potted tiger lilies near the store entrance. I had to have some! Why? Because they instantly reminded me of my Grandmother and tugged at my heart. 

My Grandmother, a second generation American, grew up on a farm in South Dakota, married, raised four sons and kept the farm going after her husband died while the boys were still young.  She was an imposing figure in my young years - large, strong, hard-working and practical. Yet she also had a wonderful sense of humor, and we loved hearing stories of childhood pranks she and her siblings played as we snuggled next to her in bed at night.  She taught us how sew and embroider, as well as to play cards and dominoes, and the German words for such endearing names as "dumb head" and "dumb donkey". :-) 

Grandma had a green thumb when it came to growing vegetables and flowers, continuing to maintain a large garden long after she retired and moved to a small property in the nearby city.  My cousins and I delighted in summer visits to her house where she'd made a playhouse in the front of the garage for us, had a wading pool filled and warming in the sun, and a bounty of fresh vegetables ripe for picking and eating (including tiny yellow pear tomatoes that rarely made it into the house). Bunches of flowers grew everywhere in her yard, and inside the windowsills were filled with geraniums and other plants that bloomed year around, thriving  in repurposed coffee cans. As children we teased her about her fancy flowerpots.

 The flowers I most loved were the exotic tiger lilies which grew and multiplied against her fenceline - their bold orange blossoms speckled with dark brown, standing out against the bright blue sky.  They are probably the reason I still love the color orange today... in my mind, orange and summer sunshine go together.

I smiled as I placed a pot of tiger lilies in my cart, and I noticed other folks smiling as I pushed it down the aisles, blossoms standing out amidst the groceries, cat food and toiletries.  Today they're headed for a permanent home in the large frontyard flowerbox my daughter made.

Thank you Grandma, for instilling in me a strong will to survive, an appreciation for beauty amidst practicality, and a love of bright colors to offset life's cloudy days. 

What kind of flowers did your grandma grow?

8 comments:

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    1. Sweet indeed, Bozo! My Grandma was my role model in many ways. I wanted to grow up to be strong and independent like her, and eventually I achieved that.

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  2. Those are absolutely beautiful!! Oh my gosh! It makes me want to run out and grab some myself. I'm glad they were able to bring you some precious memories.

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    1. They are bright and pretty, aren't they L?! Not something one sees in boquets, more often garden flowers, but I love their boldness!

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  3. What a wonderful memory in answer to your question what type of flowers my grandmother grew answer is none I do not remember her growing any but she always liked Christmas Bush and Poinsettia which she would have around her house over the Christmas season........

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    1. My Grandma grew Christmas cacti, JoAnne, as did John's. Our East bedroom window now has a beautiful large Christmas cactus that has been blooming since November -it belonged to John's great aunt and is thriving. Our plants have to do well despite neglect, and this one surely does! :-)

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  4. My grandmother tended to grow things to eat because she lived on a farm but she towards the end of her life grew roses in a multiutude of colours. I think that is why that when I'm out I always notice roses in gardens - because of her. Tiger lilies are beautiful too. So striking!

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    1. My Grandmother grew up on a farm too, Selma, and her garden was amazing. Even well into her 70's she grew and canned her own veggies, and made wonderful pickles! I am very partial to roses... especially bright yellow ones and Sterling Silver - which is actually a shade of lavendar. They are gorgeous and smell so heavenly!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)