Flower Gardening

Eric, Grace and Linn by the flower garden at the Pink House by the river.

Eric, Grace and Linn by the flower garden at the Pink House by the river.

Gardening has been a favorite pastime for me since we’ve lived in this house. I don’t mean vegetable gardening, those I can get from the farmer’s market or from the store. I mean flowers. Stepping onto the back deck on a warm early summer morning to see flowers reaching for the sun … that’s a good morning. In some of Grace’s and Louie’s letters you’ve seen the Pink House’s yard several times. It’s in this picture, too.

My last summer in that house was in 1958, I was only eight, but the memory of flowers all over the yard sticks with me. All summer long it was a riot of color, with so many flowers. My favorite were the “Tiger Lilies” that seemed to volunteer everywhere in the yard. OK, so maybe they didn’t volunteer, but to an eight year old kid, they just seemed to show up. I loved them, especially the little seed bulbs that grew at the base of each leaf.

My little back yard continues to be that bright spot Grace writes about. Most of the flowers are perennial, so they almost do “volunteer.” For all their beauty, they don’t match the memories of the house along the river.

Grandpa Guy Havelick



Grace writes:

July 29, 1991

Dear ones,

My love of flowers began when I was just a little girl. They were such a bright spot in an otherwise rather dreary and desolate country. Mama always had some flowers planted even though it was extra work to carry water for them. She had window boxes on the south windows with portulaca in them. They did so well in that sandy soil and hot summer sun. Bachelor Buttons, Zinnias + Cosmos were all fairly easy to grow so usually there was some of those in the garden or by the house.

We had some blue iris on the front side of the house that are, I believe, a very close relative to the wild iris. They are very short and very hardy. They can grow on the prairie with almost no care. Many of them are planted in the cemetery where mama + papa are buried.

In one corner of the garden she had a patch of yellow perennial snapdragons that some lady had given her a starter for. They were very much like the wildflower called Dalmation Toadflax which was introduced here from Europe + Asia so maybe thats what they really were.

After we moved to Jamestown we had lots of flowers of all kinds when we lived in the house by the river.

Grace Letter 022

Grace Letter 023