A Tribute to Aunt Lynn’s Garden


The promise of a bloom.

No hail on Friday.  Yaaa!

Last spring, a friend of a friend passed away from breast cancer. I never knew the woman, but I was told she fought valiantly.  My friend called her “Aunt Lynn” although they weren’t physically related.

Aunt Lynn was an organic gardener.  She liked decorating her garden beds with pretty rocks (petrified wood, etc), and hung antique garden objects and implements around her potting shed and of course she liked plants.  If I’d met her, I think I would have liked her.

Pieces of Aunt Lynn’s petrified wood at my home.

Her adult son, however, made no bones about the fact that he was not a gardener.  In his eyes, it was too much work and far too hot to garden in Texas.

A few months after Aunt Lynn’s passing, her son decided to sell her garden stuff, and I was invited to purchase what I wanted.  This felt awkward.  I felt it was too soon.  I didn’t want to be disrespectful.  I didn’t want to appear as if all that mattered of Aunt Lynn’s life were her things.


What are you?  What will you look like?

Aunt Lynn’s son and my friend assured me it was okay to buy her stuff. Perhaps the son needed money to pay bills on the house. Of course, I don’t know this for certain.

So, I drove out 12 miles into the country to visit Aunt Lynn’s house and garden. Aunt Lynn lived on 5 acres in a sweet white wood-clad cottage with sandy soil.  I don’t have photos of that garden and even if I’d thought about it, it wouldn’t have felt right taking photos.

The son was anxious to rid himself of just about everything, and his prices were low.

In terms of plants, I came away with several lovely cannas, some ornamental purple-headed alliums, impatiens in a plastic pot, and five mystery bulbs that I *think* are amaryllis.  (You who are amaryllis lovers and experts let me know when you see the photos.) I never grew amaryllis until this year.


Aunt Lynn’s cannas at my house.  They seem pretty happy.

Currently, the alliums are still dormant.  The impatiens died in the one big freeze we experienced in December, but the amaryllis—if that’s what they are–have decided to bloom.  I’m excited.  When I purchased and dug out these bulbs, I had no idea what color the blooms were.


Wow.  Two blooms, not just one.

To make matters worse, when I first planted the mystery bulbs, I happened to water one with recycled water that contained just a hint of chicken broth.

Of course, Elly, the dog, with her strong sense of smell thought there was a full chicken beneath the soil so she dug up one bulb and scuffed it up enough to make me worry she’d eaten part of it.  Since amaryllis are toxic–and I suspected the bulb might be an amaryllis–this resulted in a frantic call to the vet who advised giving Elly a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide as an emetic.

Fortunately, Ms. Elly was fine and so was the bulb.


Aunt Lynn’s amaryllis…or at least I think it’s an amaryllis.

So what do you think?  Is it an amaryllis and if not, what’s your guess?  (I never grew amaryllis in my former garden.)

By the way, this is not the first time I’ve inherited another gardener’s things.  I use the term “inherited” loosely.  I also never forget from whom the plants or pots came.

In 2009, another friend of friend died in a car accident and she, too, was a gardener.  The woman’s daughter held a huge estate sale to clear out her mother’s house. By default, I found all of the plants and pots that didn’t sell delivered to my doorstep one rainy evening.  Quite a surprise, that.  But in my view, it was also appropriate because if I suddenly passed on I would definitely want another gardener to “inherit” my plants and pots.  Wouldn’t you?


Georgeen’s pot.  Georgeen was an accountant for the City of Austin.  She was killed in a car accident in 2009.


3 thoughts on “A Tribute to Aunt Lynn’s Garden

  1. Glad you did not get any hail. I think the bulbs look like amaryllis. My website’s symbol is the red Barbados Lily which is a type of amaryllis. They are fabulous plants and come up every spring like clockwork. We grow them in semi shade so they don’t fry when it gets hot as ours bloom in late October (mid spring). If you feed them they multiply beautifully. I think it is great that you bought someones else’s plants so that they live on. We have a lot of our grandmother’s pots and plants and have made sure that they survive in her memory and remind us of her garden. It is especially sad if a garden is destroyed by new owners so if someone has saved some plants it means not all are lost. We acquired some cannas by default as the grew under our fence and now that the house and garden next door is gone these are the only survivors. Very hardy plants.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for mentioning feeding the bulbs. I will do that.

    I agree it’s very sad when a new homeowner comes in and wipes out someone’s long-time garden. I see this a lot and it bothers me. Might make a post about this.

    Liked by 1 person

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