For 2015, Julie Goucher of Angler’s Rest, is reinventing her Book of Me as a series of monthly prompts. For the first prompt of the year, she writes:
Prompt 1 – January 2015 – Genealogical Plantation
Imagine you are planting trees that represent your family history.
- What trees would you plant?
- What part of your family are represented by a specific tree.
- Why is that the case? – location, image, name?
Share your vision with us, perhaps if you are artistic you could draw your plantation.
Explore the ancestors and family members you are presenting. Illustrate with pictures and bring your genealogical plantation to life.
To me, I’ve always pictured by family tree as a giant oak – the gnarled branches curving up and outwards, strong enough to hold up the many family members deep within the canopy of its leaves. The branches spread far and wide, provide shade to those beneath them and are great for climbing! I love the image of a giant oak canopy cradling all my ancestors in its nooks and crannies.
But in addition to the oak, there are other plants in the garden that remind me more of my family. When I think of gardens, I really think about my mother’s side of the family. My Pappaw grew up in rural Mississippi, just south of Memphis, during the depression. During his childhood, they were largely sustenance farmers – whatever they could grow, they would eat. During the Depression, this actually allowed them to fare better than my Mammaw’s family, who lived in the big city and struggled more to make ends meet.
When I was growing up, we didn’t spend much time with my mother’s family – distance and estrangement largely kept us apart. However, the times I do remember, the things I remember about my grandfather almost all have to do with growing something. One of my earliest memories was of a visit we made to Memphis when I was about 4 years old, and we shucked beans on the porch. I also have a great fondness for tomato sandwiches, which my mother passed down from her father. He would take fresh tomatoes from the garden, slice them up and sandwich them between two pieces of toast with a little mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Yummy!
Recently my aunt Penny sent me a green garden wagon that my grandfather used to use. He would pull my mother and aunt around in that wagon while he worked in the garden. I have been planning for some time to turn that wagon into a memorial planter for my mother, Pappaw and Mammaw, all three of whom I lost within a year of each other in 1999-2000. I asked her what some of their favorite plants were, and I was pleasantly surprised to find my favorite flower, the peony, listed among those that Mammaw and Pappaw loved. During my mother’s 5 year battle with breast cancer, she collected angel pins that she would pin to the caps that she covered her head with. Anytime I came across a design of a pin that she didn’t already have, I would buy it for her. So my vision for the memorial planter is beautiful pink peonies surrounded by impatiens and ivy, with an angel watching over it – flowers from my grandparents and an angel from my mom. Below is a rough sketch of what I’m picturing: