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5 Generations in One Garden Bed

My family has long loved gardening.  It all started with my great grandmother (and I am sure her mother before this but I never knew her).  

She loved vegetable gardening and particularly yellow pole beans.  The seeds from her pole beans have been passed down from generation to generation and are now growing in my garden. 

Since they are heirloom seeds, they bloom true to the original plant and are so tasty.

A tribute to my family - 5 generations in one garden bed - year, when I transformed my vegetable garden into a mixed perennial/vegetable garden bed, I thought it would be great to include plants in the large garden bed from each of the generations of gardeners since my great grandmother lived and showcase them here on my blog.

My Great Grandmother's heirloom bean plants1. Some time in the late 1800’s.  This is the start of it all.  Heirloom beans from my great grandmother’s pole bean plants.   The seeds have been saved from the beans year after year and planted in gardens of all the children, grand children and great grandchildren. 

These are mine, planted in 2014 growing on my home made Bean Teepee.   I think it is a fitting beginning to the five generation tour, don’t you?

Interestingly, nestled at the base of the teepee are my hostas (my favorite plant) and behind it on the left side are my daughter’s sunflowers.  So this photo alone shows three generation of plant loves!

A tribute to my grandfather - he loved marigolds2. Mid 1900s.  These marigolds are a tribute to my grandfather.  He loved to garden and planted flowers for the motel that he and my grandmother owned.  (Still in business and being run by my brother Marty.) 

We called my grandfather Dappy.  Each year in the spring, his garden and the gardens at the motel were planted with the marigolds that Dappy grew in his small greenhouse.    These are growing in my garden bed and line the natural paths of the bed.

They are blooming so well and attract beneficial insects to the garden like crazy.

A tribute to my mother who loves irises3. Around 1970 or so.  My mother comes next in the generational garden tour.  She adores irises.  She had them planted all around our family home and also at the lake house where we spent summers. 

Even in the sandy soil near the lake, the irises would bloom.  I have them throughout my garden beds as a tribute to my mother and they, along with the other plants in this article are all growing in the same large garden bed.

Hostas love the shade of this bean teepee4. Early 2000s.  My favorite plant is a hosta.  I have dozens of varieties of them. 

One shade garden sits right behind the bean teepee in this garden bed, and nestled at the base of it, enjoying the shade that the teepee gives it is a large hosta. Even in the shady spot that I chose for it, the hosta still flowers.My daughter Jess in a field of sunflowers.5.  Sometime around 2012.  There are no prizes for guessing my daughter’s favorite flower.  She adores sunflowers

This picture was taken a few years ago on the way to UNCG where she went to school.   She saw the flowers growing along the freeway and just “had to stop and have a picture taken with them!”

Jess SunflowersBecause she loves sunflowers so much, I have them growing in all my garden beds.  I just buy a lot of packets each year and sow them in every bed and long fence lines. 

They do a good job of hiding our chain link fence.  Here are the first ones to flower this year.

self sown sunflowersThese are an interesting addition to my garden.  I sowed sunflower seeds last year along this fence line.   Early this spring, all along the fence line are growing these plants. 

They look nothing like the originals and, in fact, are a totally different color but I assume from where they are growing that they are self sown sunflower seeds from the parent.

6.  February 2014.  My father died this year.  No generational garden tour would be complete without my tribute to my dad.  He loved gladioli.   I planted two large patches of them in my mixed garden bed.  They are flowering now and every time I look at them, I remember him. 

His spirit continues on in my garden and will for years to come, since the gladioli will come back each year.

Gladioli are a tribute to my dad who loved them.We love you and miss you dad!

Do you have a family that loves gardening?  Why not do your own tribute to them by planting their favorites in your garden.  It makes for many nostalgic moments.


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Frances Mata

Tuesday 13th of October 2020

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. You have inspired me to do a tribute to my father, grandmother and grandfather by planting their favorite flowers too.

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