During this pandemic, I have been doing some cleaning. Who am I kidding? I’m not cleaning. I was looking for fabric to make masks for my family and friends. While digging through a huge Rubbermaid container of fabric, I found a notebook at the bottom of the tub. If you know me at all, you know I am a collector of MANY things. One thing I have large amounts of is notebooks and pens. I am a writer after all. So I wasn’t surprised to find it, but when I opened the notebook, I was thrilled with what I found.


Old notebook with planty writing.


I hope you can read what I wrote. I can tell you it wasn’t edited and isn’t all that good, but I love it because it is about my grandma and her plants. I tried to figure out when I wrote this. My grandma passed away in 2003 after a lengthy stay in a nursing home and obviously, I wrote this while she was still living, as it is written in the present tense. There were only 3 plant articles in the notebook and one other page with writing gave me a clue about the date I wrote them. It was a recipe for an orange punch which we served at my mom and dad’s 40th wedding anniversary in 1997. My grandma had already moved to a different house at that time, so I’m thinking it was written in 1994-95. That’s crazy. I do remember her violets, but don’t remember her cleaning the leaves with a toothbrush. I am so glad I wrote it down before I forgot everything. One thing I don’t agree with now. I know you can get African violet leaves wet, but just not with cold water, which will leave marks on the leaves.

African violets on windowsill

My grandma’s violets on her East window sill

Page two


Notebook with writing

The next page about topiary

“Why did I think I could do anything Martha could do?” So funny!

Good grief!  Misshappen? One p, please.  Spell check and Grammarly are my friends, for sure!

Page three

Writing in a notebook

The third page about lantana and why I love it.

The third page, as do the rest of them, brings back such good memories of friends and neighbors from my teen-aged years. My mom was a stay-at-home mom and didn’t have access to a second car all the time and I ran track after school approx. 12 miles from our home. I was able to participate in track because I could catch a ride with some friends that had a car (Thank-you Lori and Rhonda Guy!) and they would take me to the small town of Blanchard where they lived and drop me off at the local hardware store, owned by our neighbors, Marilyn and Stan Delo. We lived in a rural community (read more about that here. I just read it and cried all over again.) and the Delos lived 1/2 mile down the road, dropping me off as they drove by. Growing up, the only traffic we would see all day was the mailman, my dad coming home from work, and our neighbors going to and from work. Other than the occasional tractor going by, that was it. That day in the early 80s was the first time I have ever seen lantana and it has always been one of my favorites. I don’t think there has ever been a summer where I didn’t grow 2 or more in containers for my enjoyment and for the butterflies and bees. Mom loved it, too as orange is her favorite color. Below are lantana pictures if you haven’t seen one before. They come in so many different colors now, but the orange is still my favorite.

Writing anxiety

Why are these old notebook memories special to me? I was so scared to put my writing out there. I started my blog in 2011 after wanting to for years, but a lack of self-confidence held me back. I made my daughters read each blog post for a long time to make sure they didn’t sound “stupid”. Who was reading it? And who cares anyway? I was writing for me and wanted to help people with their plants, and I still write because I love to do it. (And hopefully, I am helping someone out there with their plants.) I have a lot more self-confidence after writing three books, as well. What did I learn through this? Write it down! I wish I had been one of those people who kept detailed journals, but I wasn’t. I’m glad I found these snippets of memories about plants.

So while you are sorting through things in your house while home in this pandemic, I hope you find some treasures you had forgotten about. Tell me about them in the comments.

Have a great day,

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