I forgot to mention in the garden tour one special plant that is blooming right now.
This plant involves my entire family with the exception of my brother Derek. It has a long history and it doesn’t look like much right now, as it’s one twig about 12″ high. But here’s the story of why this little plant means so much to me.
I lived my entire childhood in one house on Dentwood Drive in San Jose. My dad was an avid gardener and certainly was responsible for me picking up my interest in gardening. Our yard was filled with a bevy of blooming plants all most year long, but one that always cheered me up the most was the grove of Kerria japonica planted by our back fence.
When it would start blooming in the spring with it’s saturated yellow puffballs it was one of the indicators that spring was going to erupt. By late spring and throughout the summer it would dazzle with a profusion of golden flowers.
After my dad passed away and we were helping my mom clean up the garden, I noticed the Kerria, and having such good memories of it, I asked mom if I could take a division of it for my garden. Surprisingly Mom declined, saying it wasn’t doing well and she didn’t want to disturb it.
Fortunately, my sister Melody is also a keen gardener, and I think she understood my passion for this plant. So with mom distracted by some other matter, Melody and I stealthily dug up a small section and secreted it away.
I brought it back to our garden in Ferndale and planted it in the backyard, where it grew for several years, multiplying as it does. One year that mom was visiting she noticed the Kerria in bloom, and I had to admit the conspiracy that Melody and I had hatched. Far from being mad though, she asked if she could get a division from mine, so that she could have some in her small patio garden at her condo.
So part of the Kerria was returned to San Jose, and two members of our family got to enjoy the spring blooms of our ancestral plant.
Several years later though, all our Kerria died at once and I missed having it. Probably if I had ever stumbled across it in a nursery, I would have replaced it, but it wouldn’t have had the connection to mom, dad, and Dentwood Drive that I cherished.
My mom passed away in January of 2016, and while my siblings and I were cleaning out her condo, I noticed that her Kerria was flourishing. I meant to take a division, but in the rush to do everything that needed to get done I forgot. Fortunately my sister Linda was able to get a division for me and started several new roots.
Her next trip to Ferndale she presented me with the new starts. Since at that point our yard had been battered by repeated flooding, I didn’t want to plant them until we got the yard cleaned up. They continued in the one gallon buckets, and the next time Linda was up some were given back to her. That still left us with a couple, but then one died, leaving us with just one plant.
Last year it struggled and I wasn’t sure if it was going to make it. So it was a big relief this spring when I saw the new growth starting, and then this week it gave us three of the little flowers to enjoy. As soon as we finish filling the new planter with dirt, the Kerria will be planted by the back gate. I hope to eventually have it growing on both sides the gate and have it arch over the arbor. Putting it by the back fence seemed appropriate.
So due to the help of my two sisters, I have a plant that can trace it’s origins to the plant that I grew up with in my backyard, that went from San Jose to Ferndale, back to San Jose, and then back to Ferndale once again.