Family Heirlooms: Crocuses, Violets, Camilla, and Lemon Trees

Readers share stories of treasured family plants passed down for generations, including lemon trees and sweet violets.

Photo by Joshua V. Vittitow

Guarding the Garden

One of my fondest memories of my late grandmother comes from the afternoon I learned that she owned a Red Ryder BB Gun, the exact model made famous in A Christmas Story. I was helping her set the dinner table when I noticed it lying across one of the chairs pushed into the corner of the room. When I asked her why she owned a Red Ryder BB Gun, she very proudly told me she used it to shoot the squirrels when they got into the bird feeder. I couldn’t believe it; my 80-plus-year-old grandmother, shooting squirrels with her BB gun. It’s a wonder she didn’t shoot her eye out!

The squirrels were a constant threat to her bird feeder and to her precious flowerbeds nearby. My grandmother used to have these beautiful but delicate flowers scattered throughout her flowerbeds, and tended to them very diligently each season.

When I noticed the same flowers popping up in our own front yard, I sent a picture to my mom and asked if they were the same crocuses that my grandmother used to plant. When she said they were, I asked how they got planted in our yard, and she told me that it was because squirrels would take the bulbs and bury them for the winter, then forget where they put them.

Now, every time I see spring flowers, I think of my grandmother’s house. I see us sitting in her kitchen, setting the table for dinner with the Red Ryder BB Gun sitting on the chair. I’d give anything to have just one more conversation with her.

Amanda Vittitow
Louisville, Kentucky



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