Sunday, September 7, 2008

Another Generation?

My mother, who lives in northeast Lousiana, got 17 inches of rain earlier this week from Gustav. The water did not rise into her home, thank goodness, but she says it hasn't been this high since 1991. That year it didn't get in her house proper, but it did enter her enclosed back porch.

Mother says everything is fine, but she wondered did I have any of her "bachelor's buttons" in my gardens this year? (I learned a few years ago that "bachelor's buttons" is the common name for several flowers; what Mother is referring to is more accurately called globe amaranth.) All hers are covered with water, and she is afraid she doesn't have any seed frozen. Why all the concern for a plant that is commonly available? It's a heritage plant. Mother got the seed from her Aunt Lula in the 1950s. Aunt Lula dug the plants from her mother's houseplace after she died in 1942. Heaven only knows where Mother's grandmother got them.

As luck would have it, I have one specimen in the Cottage Garden this year. Very lucky indeed, as I did not plant the seed this year, and it almost never reseeds itself for me, as it almost always does for Mother. It's a spindly plant this year, not a bunchy compact one covered in blooms, because I didn't pinch it back earlier in the summer as I should have. But it seems to have come through the 5 inches of rain Gustav brought all the way to northwest Arkansas. Matilda Owens Smith's bachelor buttons should survive another year in the gardens of her progeny.

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