Legacy Plants: Honor Your Ancestors With Pass-Along Plants

By Amy Grant | June 18, 2020
Image by seven75
by Amy Grant
June 18, 2020

I come from a long line of plant lovers. Some of my ancestors were farmers, while my grandmother was a nut for roses and my mother, a Master Gardener, doesn’t discriminate. There is something comforting and lovely about this long line of amateur botanists. It makes me feel like I have a common thread even with those long passed. My connection with my forebears isn’t just an ephemeral commonality, as it lives on day after day in the legacy plants passed down to me from my loved ones.

Pass-Along Plants Keep Memories Alive

Much like heirloom vegetables and old-fashioned flowers, pass-along plants are a great way to keep the spirit of your loved ones alive, while sparking fond age-old memories.

My father’s mother had a breakfast nook. This wasn’t just any breakfast nook. It was bordered on two sides by windows with bright indirect sun and every inch of the window ledges were covered with houseplants, mostly cacti and succulents. Some of these houseplants grew so large that grandma began to train them up and around the window sills.

I have fond memories of eating sourdough pancakes in this sunny breakfast nook, occasionally being tickled by a wayward tendril of Hoya carnosa plant that had come unhinged from its makeshift support.

Fast forward thirty years or so ago when my grandmother passed away. At the time I was a flippant 17-year-old, who when asked if there was anything of grandma’s I would like to have, stuck my nose up in the air. Lucky for me, my mother, in her wisdom, set aside some things she thought I might like to have as remembrances when I grew out of my selfish teen years. One of these items was the Hoya wax plant.

Since then, I have grown up some, I hope, and feel more sentimental about my childhood. A decade or more ago, my mother carefully divided grandma’s Hoya plant, which I received as a gift. To this day, the gorgeous plant graces my own window ledge reminding me of her place in my upbringing and the tenuous, yet strong, threads that bind us as a family.

If you’re feeling nostalgic and want to replicate something similar from your childhood, or if you’d like to continue the tradition of pass-along plants to honor your ancestors, planting a legacy garden is a great place to start. Not only will you have something to remember them by but you’ll be honoring your family for generations to come.

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