Family Heirloom Stories: 'Seven Sisters' Rose, 'Moneymaker' Tomato, Fernleaf Peony, and More

Readers share stories of treasured family plants.

  • The author has transplanted her 'Seven Sisters' roses several times, and the bush continues to thrive with little upkeep.
    Photo by Darlene C. Hohensee
  • The 'Moneymaker' tomato was the author's father's most valuable one.
    Photo by Jane Fowler
  • The author and her sister shared a bond over their fernleaf peonies. When they talked on the phone over the years, they'd often discuss how their "fernies" were doing.
    Photo by Sheila Jameson

An Enduring Rose

When I was a little girl, I used to accompany my grandmother while she “played” in her garden. A beautiful pink rose climbed along her fence. When I was 10, my dad planted some cuttings from that rose bush along our back fence. Many years later, I noticed that someone had removed the bush. I climbed over the neighbor’s fence to dig up a piece of the bush that had spread into their yard and brought it to my own house to nurture it into the beautiful plant it had once been. I have been able to transplant this same bush through all three of my moves.

The ‘Seven Sisters’ rose (Rosa multiflora) is extremely easy to grow — I just plant it and enjoy it. It doesn’t seem to require any fertilizers or amendments — at least in my Zone 8 area. I do add some organic compost occasionally, if I’m already adding it to my other plants. Unless it’s a severe drought, I don’t even water this beauty.

Every time I pass this beautiful ‘Seven Sisters’ rose or tend to it, I feel my dad and grandmother close to my heart. I only wish it bloomed all year!

Darlene C. Hohensee, Carriere, Mississippi

The Luxury of Dill

Nothing reminds me of spring more than the dill sauce my dad used to make when I was a kid. Somehow those little flecks of chopped green made all the difference in milky sauce poured over plain potatoes.

Back then, stores were empty, factories were silent, money lost its value, and people went to war. My parents worked day and night to put food on the table. One day when I was 10 and my sister was 6, I decided to make a meal to greet my parents when they arrived after a long day. We settled on baked potatoes with dill sauce. While my sister peeled potatoes (as well as a six year old with a dull knife could), I went out to pick dill.



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