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Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Boomers are booming!

Grandma's Begonia



By Jene Hedden

I attribute my interest in flowers to my maternal grandmother Ivy Frances. Ivy, I always called her simply Grandma. I learned much about life from her during the formative years I lived at her farm house in southern Kentucky. The farm was an active working farm complete with cows, hogs, chickens, ducks, and work horses. I lived one year in her home when I was only seven years of age. Additionally, I visited her on countless occasions on weekends and holidays. Visits to her home were always a source of treasured memories that i hold fondly even to this day.


     Grandmother was a very practical person, holding on to the few earthly treasures she had but never seeming to want more than she already had. Most of what she possessed, was an object of use at her home on the farm. Things like her working apron, her bonnet and cotton work gloves were objects that even today I associate with her memory.


     There is one exception to grandmother's earthly possessions that does not fit so well in her needed properties. That is her love for blooming flowers. Her small front porch was always lined with pots of some blooming flower. Many of these pots had survived for many years within her care.


     My mother acquired her mother's love of flowers. My mother continued to tend her flowers even after her Altzheimer's Disease had robbed her of much of her stored memory including my mother's recogition of her only son. But somewhere deep within my mother's memory was a love for her flowers.


     After my mother passed away quite suddenly, I was in the process of clearing out my mother's home. It was a difficult and exhausting process. I recall walking up my parents steps to the second floor. There was a window part of the way up the steps. And there in the window was an old pot with a sick very dry sprig of what I  immediately recognized as my grandmother's "Angel Wing Begonia". It looked so sad and overlooked. I decided to attempt a heroic rescue of this sickly plant. After repotting the sprig and watering it regularly, I eventually noticed a tiny new green leaf. Hope was alive and well.


     That was fifteen years ago. Today I have cut and rooted countless starts of this hardy begonia for cousins around the US. It is interesting that all of them each have their own memory of grandmother's angel wing begonia sitting either on her porch in summer or in the east window in the winter. My pot of this same begonia stands now more than four feet tall and three feet across. 


     It has bright red blossoms that peep out from beneath the dark green angel's wing shaped leaves. It began to bloom this summer around the first of July. It is presently in full bloom as I write this note. I am attaching a photo image of the blossoms for you to enjoy.


     This is a living reminder of  a dear grandmother who passed from this life  about 35 years ago. I think she would be pleased that her begonia continues to bloom with such summer beauty!