“It is hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember.” – Author Unknown

When I stand in our garden, I see close family members and many dear friends. Truly, I am not having a senior moment. My family and friends are thriving and bring me great joy when I see them.

For instance, there is Cheryl’s Big Blue. Big Blue, as I have named her, was the inspiration behind “Juan’s Story.” My friend Cheryl was from Boone, North Carolina and her big blue iris was from the garden of her first grade teacher. When her teacher gave her a start of the iris, she said “Cheryl, remember to share.” That iris came from North Carolina to Virginia and on to West Virginia. In Cheryl’s gardening life she shared this iris with a multitude of people, just as I have done. And, respecting the wishes of her teacher in Boone, “Cheryl’s Big Blue” is always given with the instructions, “Remember to share.” I often wonder: How far and wide this iris has traveled and how many states it calls home.


Another dear friend in our garden is “Princess Cathy.” Princess Cathy, as I refer to her, is a magnificent pink tree peony. Cathy, was my dear friend and neighbor. Cathy raised this lovely tree peony from a tiny plant. When she and her husband moved to Clarksburg from Wheeling, West Virginia, Princess Cathy also made the move. And, she lived in Cathy’s beautiful garden until unfortunately another move came about. This is when I was honored with the gift from my dear friend, her beloved pink tree peony. Princess Cathy has blooms roughly 10 inches across and buds the size of golf balls.

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Oh, I must not forget Pandora. Pandora was the PTA president at the school where I worked. She was a delightful woman, who loved not only her children, but all children. Pandora and I had an instant connection, the state of Mississippi. Pandora was from Mississippi, as was my mother. One lovely spring day she arrived at school with a beautiful bouquet of Crayola yellow irises. These irises belonged to her grandmother and she brought them to Virginia. She gave me a start of these beauties and of course, they now reside in West Virginia.


And, I could never write about all of these special people without talking about Linda (she was Juan’s teacher mentioned in this previous column). Linda was one of my all-time best gardening friends. Many of the plants Linda shared with me were left in our garden in Virginia. However, the one I chose to bring to West Virginia is a true beauty and rare. Her name is Ruby Morning and she is a chocolate iris. She is magnificent and is planted beside a butter yellow peony named Sunny Girl. The two are breathtakingly beautiful together and seem quite happy living beside each other.

Also, I cannot fail to mention my friend Pat. I met Pat and became friends with her during my years in garden club. When my term as president ended, Pat gave me two beautiful coral peonies. I think of Pat often, but especially when these lovelies bloom.


Near the top of my precious plant list, of course are plants from my family. Of these, are two peonies which were my grandmother’s. Both I have named Maggie, my grandmother’s name. These delicate splendors were dug at my father’s home place in Enterprise, West Virginia moved to Virginia then returned with us to Clarksburg. As with many of the heirloom varieties, both of these peonies are not only beautiful but extremely fragrant.

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Holding the highest place of honor is a magnificent frilly pink iris named Beverly Sills. Beverly belonged to my mother and was her favorite iris. My mother was an avid gardener, who knew her plants, shrubs, trees and flowers. And, when you gaze upon this pink beauty, it is easy to understand why she was mom’s favorite. Mom is with me each and every day, but never more than in the garden.

So dear friends, “scatter joy.” Share those beauties. When you thin your irises, peonies, bulbs, lilies, the list goes on; place them in a paper bag or wrap them in some newspaper. Tie with a sweet ribbon and include a note regarding how or why they came to you. Give others a special gift, a gift for no reason. A gift which, each and every year, will give the recipient memories of you. You see, one of the greatest joys of gardening is sharing. And, by doing so you are creating lasting, special memories!

See you soon,


  1. Coral Peony – Anna Almond (Pinterest)
    2. Blue Irises – Flowers in Art and Photos
    3. Pink Tree Peony – Sarah Johnson (Pinterest)
    4. Yellow Iris – Stacy Mork (Pinterest)
    5. Chocolate Iris – Kristina Paul (Pinterest)
    6. Coral Peony – Anna Almond (Pinterest)
    7. White Peony Mochi Hime (Pinterest)
    8. Pink Iris – Kinzie Balfour (Pinterest)