Toodling around today at Word Press various other bloggers’ postings have loosely inspired these thoughts on being rooted…At our Memorial Day Weekend trek to/from the family Cottage in Gaylord, Michigan my husband & I collected a number of plants from the property to transplant to our own yard in Metro Detroit. We actually left a few plants in Gaylord accidentally & they were kindly transported South by my parents later!
Previously we had transplanted a couple of Lilac “bushes” and they are doing really well in our yard. Those lilacs were individual woody stalks, possibly decades old, that had held on in the harsh climate and poor sandy soil conditions of Northern Michigan and now flourish as expansive bushes in our backyard. In fact, our newly married son wants to take a transplant from our transplant(s) so that he & his wife can have some familial lilacs in their yard too. These transplanted lilacs are very special to me because they come from my grandparents’ property and remind me of them, and their love, whenever I look at the bushes or smell that amazing lilac smell. Also while growing up there were a few lilac bushes outside my bedroom windows and that heady fragrance always takes me back to those carefree days just a bit…
For years I’ve wanted to get further lilac transplants from my great-grandparents’ property that’s just a few blocks away from The Cottage. The Cottage flowers are a light purple, aka Lilac!, color, but some of the lilacs from my great-grandma’s garden are white & some of a darker purple, or so I thought. If we don’t do the lilac gathering during the Memorial Day trip we have to wait another year to confirm the location and/or color of any potential transplants, and this concept minus action has occurred many times.
This year we encountered the latest owners of one of my great-grandparents’ cottages, the one with a turret that is near the railroad tracks. We had a lovely chat with them, were able to view the recently renovated & gorgeous interior of that cottage, and get permission to get some of my great-grandma’s lilacs! We ended up digging up a couple smallish single stalks from the white bush and they are definitely taking root in our flower beds!
We also got to see some photos of their cottage as it previously existed as a Texaco gas station. According to the new owners this little gem of a building, one storey with an interesting octagonal turret, started its life in Detroit. They showed us a photo of the alleged first cottage owner but he did Not appear to be my great-grandfather (Rowland Edward Thompson). We shared what tales we could recall about the gas station cottage with my Dad & Aunt (they both spent Every Summer of their respective childhoods at the Gaylord Cottage) to see if the tales lined up with our family lore. According to my Aunt Pat, Patricia Kay Stoddard Armstrong Ziemba, she was actually there when my great-grandmother, Florabelle Mansell Thompson, negotiated a purchase price and bought the gas station cottage. Pat swears the gas station was in Gaylord, and she remembers where it had been located and observed it being moved to its present location. Mysteries here…
Well there weren’t appropriate Dark Purple lilacs at the great-grandparents’ cottage site so we searched further afield. There had been an amazing bush in a neighborhood flowerbed near where our Gaylord home was located, but we couldn’t find it on this trip. We did, however, discover an even larger Deep Rich Purple lilac bush near an intersection in town, so we can easily recall its location. Now we just need to track down the property owner to get permission to dig up a couple of new starts…Can’t wait!
We also took several starts of myrtle, lily-of-the-valley, forget-me-nots, and some purple “weeds” that can happily grow in our grass to help fill in a bare patch in our backyard under a spreading maple tree. There are also some long leaved plants interspersed with some lily-of-the-valley plants to fill in some of the barrenness between our trees between the sidewalk & the street. Myrtle & Lily-of-the-Valley grow along the house & driveway in my parents’ yard (the home I grew up in) and we had already transplanted some Myrtle to our front flower bed a few years back and it has filled in things beautifully. These two species seem to spread easily so will need some attention to keep them in check, but honestly I love both of these flowers so much, and they remind me of my childhood home & the Cottage so much that the maintenance is worth it!
Each of these plants are a tangible representation of the gift of life…a heritage passed down from my great-grandparents to my grandmother and indirectly from both their yards to us. They also are directly and indirectly from my parents & grandparents and are likely to continue on to my son & his wife. We’ve received the gifts of physical & mortal life from our forbears and they’ve also blessed us with the heritage of faith–the seeds of eternal life in Christ Jesus. We’ve passed those gifts on to our children & look forward to them continuing to be passed on to the generations to come…just like so many of the flowering beauties that unify & connect our hearts & all of our earthly properties.