Heirloom Stories: Plums, Roses, Bulbs and More

Readers share heirloom stories about treasured plants that have been saved, grown, cooked, and enjoyed for generations.

  • "Blue Diamond" plums are not easily transported so are not widely sold in supermarkets, so they're a special homegrown treat.
    Photo by Heather Cole
  • This reader's great-grandmother's rose bush is growing strong, covering a fence that's 5 feet tall and 15 feet long.
    Photo by Blaney Carter
  • The first bulbs of this reader's hyacinth, crocus, and iris flowers were planted over 100 years ago.
    Photo by Sherry Marshall

Rambling Rose: An Heirloom Rose Bush

When I was seven years old, my mom and grandparents took me to visit the farm where my grandfather grew up. It was in bad shape. No one had lived there for many years, but there were a few flowers still thriving. One was a beautiful pink rose. My grandfather dug up a piece of it, and we brought it home and planted it. He told me his mom had planted it when he was a little boy. Now I’m 60 years old, and a piece of my pink rose always moves with me wherever I go.

Sabrina Page
Russellville, Kentucky

The ‘Blue Diamond’ Plum Tree

Flavor is a path to memory, taking us back to special places and people. For gardeners, these memories often lead us to grow the flavors we long for. We know they can only come straight from our gardens and not from the supermarket.

The plums from the ‘Blue Diamond’ tree are just such a memory for me. I remember the towering tree in our orchard, covered in fat purple plums hanging well out of reach. My father’s favorite, the ‘Blue Diamond’ always looked ripe a long time before it actually was.



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