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SHARING SECRETS: Do The Plants Growing In Your Garden Remind You Of Wonderful People?

Edited by Cathy Tylka, for Let’s Talk Plants! January 2024.

WiX stock photo. Friends sharing secrets.

Question for this month…

… Hope you all are enjoying happy holidays with friends and loved ones. Do any of the plants in your garden remind you of these wonderful people?


Donald Yeckel of 92037 replied… 

… Our home’s landscaping has always been my design and responsibility, except for a 150 square feet rectangular bed that was my wife Jeannette's garden. My (hopefully) low maintenance landscaping used trees, perennials, shrubs, and especially succulents and bromeliads, but rarely annuals or bulbs. Her high maintenance garden was almost exclusively annuals and bulbs. When she fell ill and became bed-bound with 24/7 caregivers for 3 years, her garden quickly fell into disrepair and eventual abandonment. After a few years I started occasionally promising Jeannette that someday I would restore her garden, but “someday” never came. Jeannette, my wife for 68 years and mother of our seven children, died last year. I have since restored her garden in her honor, with a custom “Jeannette's Garden” sign and a weatherproof copy of her obituary. Now when I see the annuals and bulbs blooming, I think of Jeannette. RIP Sweetheart.


Gerald D. Stewart of 92084 shares... 

… I have many plants that remind me of specific people. Here are three of them:

Mrs. Fitzgerald, down the street from where I grew up, gave me a "slip" of a "geranium" in 1964. I found out it's cultivar name about 1980, when Carol Roller and Jody Koho, from the San Diego Geranium Society, came to visit. When they stepped onto my deck, they both said, "Where did you ever find 'Irma'?" I later learned that it had been hybridized by Mr. Schmidt, south of San Francisco, in the 1930s.

In the 1990s Paul Pettee gave me a yellow clivia, when they weren't available very often, and then for hundreds of dollars.

When I attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, to study horticulture, the Holdens, my next-door neighbors, gave me a pot of Pink Rain Lilies that they split from their pot. I had it until the early 2000s, when someone I hired to clear a bench of dead plants decided to clear other benches without telling me. The Holden's lilies were dormant, and the pot was dumped without my knowledge. When I discovered what happened I was chagrined, to say the least. I bought some, so now, when they bloom, I'm still reminded of the Holdens, who also introduced me to Thrifty 5¢ ice cream cones. I got a cone a couple of months ago. As I recall, a 10¢ double scoop is now over $3. Fifty years will do that!


Jim Booman reports… So many,

Orchid Zeschia Lynn, my daughter

Gardenia Milo Scott, my son

Hybrid Tea Roses and Azaleas Grandmother Booman


Giant Dahlias, Lily of the Valley, Grandmother Johnson


Iris and Elderberries, my mother


Phalaenopsis, Jack Fanning


Carnivorous Plants, Gary Maskarinec


Ceiba and Jacaranda, Graciela Barreir

And, and, and -

I could go on for pages.


Lili Walsh of 92037 participated by adding… 

… Arabian Jasmine and Honeysuckle. The one was my mother’s favorite because of its scent at our summerhouse in Mexico where we lived when I was a child. The other because the scent of honeysuckle pervaded our summer evenings in Philadelphia where we moved to and where my grandmother lived.


Julie Adamik of 92010 provides us with this answer…

… As a busy corporate executive, my days were long and stressful. My mom would always say, “Julie, you need to stop and smell the roses.” I, now that I am retired, I have a rose garden of about 60 roses that I walk through every day and “smell the roses.” Done, Mom.


Cathy Tylka of 92026 relates…

... I love roses, they remind me of my mom. I love Bromeliads, they remind me of my lovely friend Anita. So, many of my plants are borrowed or outright given to me by Susan Morse. I have filled my yard with them. Let me go out and look at what’s most outstanding right now!

Oh Aeoniums, and in bloom in December, Italian Oregano, and wonderful Jade!



Susi Torre Bueno of 92083 shares… 

...Good question! I have a lovely succulent that was a gift from the late Bill Teague, which I have been happy to share with many lovely people. Years ago, Patrick Anderson gave me an uncommon, yellow-flowered Aloe which is in full bloom as I write (in early December). I have a stunning violet-flowered pelargonium which started out as a cutting from a plant that my daughter-in-law's very sweet grandmother grew. I have several succulents which were gifted to me by Jim Bishop from his stunning garden.


Karen England, 92084, remembers her paternal grandmother …

… My grandma Richter was not a gardener but the house that she lived in, owned by my uncle, in Sierra Madre, California had the most magical rose growing along the fence on her long easement driveway. As an eight-year-old I would walk to grandmother’s house from home, church or school and pick these tiny pink uniquely fragrant roses to give to my grandmother when I arrived. The driveway was so long and the roses so prolific that no one could ever tell I had picked any. Later in life, I realized that the roses were Rosa 'Cécile Brünner', planted on the neighbor’s side of the easement driveway fence belonging to them, but to my childish mind my grandmother grew the best roses ever without even trying.

For twenty-two years now, I have been growing three huge Cecile Brunner rose bushes by my mailbox and I pick myself little fragrant rose bouquets whenever I get the mail.


And now for the first question of the New Year 2024...

When and if the rain comes, what is your plan of attack for your yard?

And, if it gets really cold, and your plans are endangered, what’s the plan? But if you have no plan for preparation what is your after-frost plan?


Cathy Tylka, RN, retired Emergency Nurse, found her love of plants and the SDHS merge many years ago. Cathy acted as Treasurer for the organization and volunteer for many activities. Now, more than happy to assist in gathering questions to ask you in the Sharing Secrets area of the Newsletter.


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