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NZ Gardener - 365 Days of Flowers - - Contents -

Edi­tor Jane Wrig­glesworth makes a case for home­grown flow­ers.

As for many peo­ple, flow­ers mean so much to me. To be able to pick blooms straight from my gar­den to bring in­doors is one of the most won­der­ful feel­ings in the world. Even bet­ter if you have rem­nants of heir­loom plants, passed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion.

Rachel Clare, edi­tor of NZ Gar­dener’s weekly ezine Get Grow­ing, tells of her ex­cite­ment upon re­ceiv­ing a cut­ting that de­scended from a rose her great-great­grand­fa­ther Matthew Mcdon­ald grew, also from a cut­ting of a rose that had re­minded him of one his mother grew back in Ire­land.

“He grew the rose in his gar­den at Toka­toka, near Dar­gav­ille, and years later his daugh­ter, my great-grand­mother, gave a cut­ting to my grand­mother, who grew it and gave cut­tings to my mother and other rel­a­tives. Now, 140 years since that first cut­ting was taken, my sis­ter has struck one for me. We be­lieve the rose to be ‘Old Blush’, which grows widely in the north, but to us it’s the Mcdon­ald Rose, named for our red-headed Ir­ish an­ces­tor, think­ing of home.”

Get Grow­ing reader Wendy Lam­bert has a sim­i­lar story. “Many, many years ago, Mum had a beau­ti­ful pink, heav­ily scented rose in her gar­den in Kent, which she said was ‘Mrs John Laing’, and came from her grand­mother’s gar­den. She was go­ing to give me a cut­ting, but I pointed out that some­one was bound to find it at the air­port! A few months later, Mum sent me some cer­tifi­cates, all neatly rolled up in a card­board tube. Imag­ine my ‘hor­ror’ on find­ing rose cut­tings in the mid­dle, all wrapped in damp news­pa­per and poly­thene. What could I do? I have to say, the rose looks lovely and this year I will take some cut­tings to pass on to my grand­chil­dren!”

And reader Sonja Matla has a spe­cial flower grow­ing in her gar­den that she used in her wed­ding bou­quet. “My fu­ture grand­mother-in-law was show­ing me round her gar­den and pointed out a plant she was very fond of. It was twee­dia, a peren­nial with del­i­cate blue star-shaped flow­ers. She gave me some seeds and I grew it in my gar­den. For my wed­ding, I had the florist add twee­dia to my bou­quet of mostly apri­cot flow­ers. Some time later, when my grand­mother-in-law was in hos­pi­tal af­ter a bad fall, I put some twee­dia by her bed­side. It was the last time I saw her. I’m al­ways re­minded of her on the rare oc­ca­sions I see the beau­ti­ful blue of twee­dia.”

Flow­ers of­ten tell a story. I started my own cut flower gar­den 12 years ago, which pro­gressed to sell­ing the odd bou­quet, as well as pot­ted plants, at my lo­cal mar­ket. In­cluded in one of the bou­quets was the green rose, Rosa chi­nen­sis ‘Virid­i­flora’. A gen­tle­man wrote to me later and said he be­lieved it was his own an­ces­tors that brought this rose to our shores and that he was sad­dened that it was no longer com­monly avail­able. Per­haps I can pass it down to mem­bers of my own fam­ily to keep it go­ing.

Flow­ers are my ev­ery­day joy. To grow them, smell them, pick them and ar­range them, for me, is bliss. And I couldn’t put it any bet­ter than renowned botanist Luther Bur­bank: “Flow­ers al­ways make peo­ple bet­ter, hap­pier, and more help­ful; they are sun­shine, food and medicine to the mind.”

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