Grit Blogs > Rosedale Garden

Spring Daffodils and Old Homesteads

pine tar Miss Priss Patches  

Earlier I had mentioned that the hooligans were full of pine tar from playing king of the hill on fresh sawdust that my local lumber company brought. It was especially noticeable on Patches as she has more white on her than Blackie or Levi. Apparently after getting sticky they rolled each other in the compost pile and you can see the results of their efforts.  My three don’t play gently with each other, Levi will bark at Blackie until she starts chasing him.  He’ll bounce in front while running from her, teasing her all the while she is getting madder and madder at him.  Occasionally he’ll under estimate Blackie’s speed while making a turn and will get creamed and pan caked into the ground.  The rough housing is rough on their collars and the control for the wireless fence.  I noticed during our big snow in January that Levi was missing his fence collar.  I found it after the snow melted and it was beyond repair.  Since he is not one to wonder, I put off buying a replacement collar which Patches will get and Levi will get the handy down.  Patches is constantly testing the fence and if her collar doesn’t vibrate, it’s over the wall to freedom, so she gets any new collars and the other two will get a the older collar.  

Things were going well for a while; Levi was staying at home until last Sunday when some sort of ruckus was going on down the road which startled the horses. The hooligans were having a hissy fit wanting to be in on the action.  I kept checking out the window trying to see what was going on, and the last time I checked, I saw Levi’s tail disappearing around the corner running up the road toward his former home at NW AL Herding Dog Rescue.  I was still in my jammies, and I jumped into a pair of jeans and shoes, jumped into my truck and headed after him.  I thought he probably would be at his old home looking for Karen, but didn’t find him wandering around it. I headed back down the hill calling across the east side of horse pasture for him, but didn’t see him. As I made the left turn at the bottom of the hill, I looked over at my house and only saw Patches in the yard. Great I thought now I have to look for another escapee.  I drove down the north side of the pasture calling Levi and turned in the neighbors drive and came back calling. I repeated the trip a couple of times more, this time Blackie was back in the front yard and made one more trip calling Levi.  This time when I got back to the intersection, there was Levi laying in-between the other two looking so innocent.  When Mom and I left to go to church he ran down to the intersection in front of my truck, jumped the ditch looking at me as if he was asking which way are we going now. On the way home after church and eating out, I made a stop on the way home and picked up a new collar.   

I spent the weekend moving some of the old heirloom daffodils from several old home sites close by and putting newspaper down as weed barrier and mulching some of my daylilies.  Old Southern home sites have one thing in common, daffodils. You can drive around the country side and see where old long gones homes used to be by the surviving daffodils.  One home site was the old Blacksmith shop and home for either the Belle Mont or Melrose plantations. I remember the two story house was still standing when I was a child, but wasn’t livable.  I separated one of the clumps and found an old worn out mule shoe and a broken piece of pottery and old burned coal ore. As I inspected the old shoe which had to be around 150 yrs old, I imagined the Blacksmith’s wife fussing at him for dumping his trash on her flowers.     

share croppers house  

old barn  

Another old site just across the dry creek belonged to a lady who worked for my Grandparents and took care of us at times. She just loved flowers  After Frankie died, one of our bad neighbors was trying to take the property from her relatives by paying the property taxes on it.  After a court battle, the relatives rented out the house and it was burned down before anyone could move in.  Now the middle of where her house was is being used as a road, so I’ve been moving her flowers over to my side of the creek.  As soon as I finish burning some old brush in the middle of the plot, I’ll move some of her old daylilies.  I have over 470 varieties of daylilies, I can always use another one.  

The third home site, I remember share croppers living in the house up until about twenty years ago. The house was in sad shape at that time.  I also found a white flowering shrub about two feet high which I dug up a few springs and put into a 3 gallon pot until I can find out what it is. I’ve attached a picture of it. If you know what it is, please post a comment. The old home also has a lot of what appears to be yucca plants or something sticky like that. Those can stay right there.    

You also wonder what happen that the old homes were abandoned.  Where they lost during the Depression or just became old?  

 My modern daffodils and tulips are in full bloom.  I posted a few of the old heirlooms ones here that I’ve dug up from the old home sites, along with an old fashion flowering almond shrub.  We used to have one in our back yard growing up, and I just loved all the little rose like blooms on it.  You can see more of the modern ones on at Rosedale Gardens in a day or two.  I planned to post them Sunday night, but I found something disturbing that I had to get on my soapbox about while taking pictures of the old sites.   

Empress daff and Almond bush 

 rescued daffodils from home sites 

 from home sites 

 unknown rescued daff 

 Poets daff  

unknown rescue 

mary carton
3/23/2011 7:13:51 PM

Cindy I posted a picture of the piece of the shrub with white flowers I dug up. One of them is in bush form and about 4 ft tall, others are spreading and about 2 ft high. The iris are starting to bloom here. I have over 300 varieties and over 450 varieties of daylilies. We have hard clay here that I've been plowing leaves & rotten sawdust in. It's helped a lot. The soil is turning from red to more a brownish black color. Thanks for trying to figure out what the shrub is. Mary

cindy murphy
3/22/2011 5:33:38 AM

Hi, Mary. Love your daffodil photos; daffodils are (one of) my favorite flowers. Mine, here in Michigan, are just starting to poke their noses out of the ground - only the tiniest nubs are showing, and they already got nipped by frost.

Another favorite are daylilies - truly a no fuss/no muss plant that grows both in my extremely sandy soil, or my heavy clay; in both sun and shady areas. Gotta love a plant that does all that and asks for so little in return. Looking forward to a daylily post from you.

I don't see the photo of your white flowering shrub; I love a good mystery and am trying to guess what it'd be. Amelanchier (serviceberry, shadbush, shadblow, sarvicetree - depending on what part of the country you're in) blooms this time of year with tiny white flowers, but it's more of a shrubby tree than a bush. Have a great day.

mary carton
3/21/2011 10:44:52 PM

Most of the old places have been taken over by blackberry vines, most of the fruit trees were dozed and planted in cotton. We used to see a lot of wild plum trees, the white mulberry and black eyed Susan,but I think the drought we've had the last several years have wiped most of those out. I've been hunting for a small wild plum to dig up without luck. What I didn't expect to find were the 5 headstones from the early 1900's discarded along a fence row which was extremely upsetting. I'm going to see the sheriff tomorrow to see if anything can be done about it or at least put them in my garden until something can be found out about them. I did do a post tonight of a few of my daffodils. Thanks for reading. Mary

nebraska dave
3/21/2011 6:23:31 PM

Mary, In Nebraska on a derelict homestead farm the most likely thing to find would be Asparagus, Rubarb, and some kind of berries either blackberries or raspberries. Almost certainly a small orchard would be found with unkept apple trees, cherry trees and maybe an apricot or peach tree. For flowers it would be Iris and possibly Hollyhocks. Foraging the old homesteads, with permission of course, can net quite a harvest. In the wild along fence rows and road right of ways the most common thing to forage is mulberries and elder berries. I am going to attempt to make mulberry jam this year. The last time I tried to make jam it was great pancake syrup. I just let the family think that's what I was trying to make. :) That was almost 30 years ago and I know a little more about making jam now so hopefully it will turn out a little better. Have a great flower foraging day.