Family Heirloom: Golden Currant, Weeping Fig, ‘Cherokee’ Purple Tomato, and More

Readers share stories of treasured family plants

| Spring 2018

The Scent of Golden Currant

My grandmother grew a bush with small yellow flowers, which, come spring, would bloom and fill the air with a fragrance like fresh cinnamon. You could smell it just walking by, like fresh spice wafting in the breeze. The bush would flower profusely, but ultimately produced very little fruit.

When I decided to leave home and move into my first house, I took a cutting of my grandmother’s flowering golden currant with me. I’ve since lived in several different houses, and I’ve taken a cutting of that bush with me to every new home. In spring, when I smell the hint of cinnamon in the air as I walk by the bush, or as I garden nearby, it brings out the feelings of a happy childhood and memories of my grandmother.

Lorraine Chambers

Chatham, Ontario

New Life With New Plants

My foster mom had a company, Anything Grows, which specialized in tropical plantscapes. The time I spent with her began a lifelong love of plants for me. I used the skills I learned from her to begin working in nurseries, eventually gardening and landscaping myself.

At 19 years old I moved into my first apartment, and was in need of a few tropical plants. Naturally, I asked Bonnie (my foster mom) if she had any to spare. She showed up with multiple trees, including fragrant dracaena (Dracaena fragrans) and a lovely braided weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) that was otherwise destined for the burn pile.

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