Family Heirloom stories: ‘Pretoria’ canna lilies, English poppies, blackboy peach tree, and more

Readers share stories of treasured family plants.

  • Colorful canna lily in the garden
    Photo by Getty Images: p_saranya
  • My great-grandmother had planted two pink rose bushes years ago, and the roses bloomed every spring and summer under her care.
    Photo by Vivian Perez
  • There are several varieties of blackboy peach trees, which typically produce big, juicy, dark red fruit. They’re delicious raw, but can be made into jam, chutney, and more!
    Photo by Michelle Morgans

Precious ‘Pretoria’

My mother was gifted an array of lovely ‘Pretoria’ canna lilies (Canna indica) by her granddaughter-in-law. Having catered to her garden in Anderson, South Carolina, for many years, my mother was delighted to give these canna lilies all the attention she could.

I can still picture the joy on her face when they bloomed each spring. My mother’s secret to a flourishing flower garden was natural potash. She would collect the stick and leaf debris in her yard and burn it, taking the cooled ashes to the garden to sprinkle in the flowerbeds.

When my mother passed in 2011, I brought a small flowerpot of about five bulbs of ‘Pretoria’ to my house in Tennessee. These blooms love to multiply. I look forward to seeing them bloom each summer!

I can see my cannas from the windows in my kitchen, living room, and dining room, and from my front deck. It’s the start of a memory garden to honor my mother. They mean the world to me. I feel her presence while working in my flower gardens. She would be delighted to know her flowers are getting attention.

Debbie Neese
New Market, Tennessee 

English Poppies Find New Life in United States

I discovered, after moving to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, that very few plants from my native United Kingdom were able to make the transatlantic trip, nor would they grow in my current desert environment. However, I do have one plant that’s made the leap across the pond quite successfully. Every year when it grows and blooms, I think of my mum and the wonderful English cottage garden from which it originally came.

12/7/2017 10:20:14 AM

Have any of these made it to the U.S.?

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