The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Do You Remember Your First?


… Plant? I write this in response to Gayla’s new Grow Write Guild (link below), a writing prompt – I’m joining in the mindful fun.

The first plant I remember caring for is actually two and I’m not sure which came first but I believe they were both from my grandmother, Violet Fern. I was a young girl – not sure what age, but much younger than I am now, of the historic preteen era. One plant was a cactus that I believe she received free from the grocery store – I remember my mother telling me that at some point. It was a tiny single stalk. It grew many “babies” and soon became a large plant with a sort of trailing habit. You could (carefully) stick any of the prickly, little “babies” that fell off in the dirt and they would grow – how fun! I’m not sure what happened to that cactus or what kind it was. It may have met its demise (along with most of my former houseplants) on its move to Colorado in January of 2001. (Never use plastic as an insulator for your plants – use old sheets or cloth of some kind. I learned this the very, very hard way.) But you know I might have given some of those prickly, little babies to a good friend of mine years ago – wonder if she still has it?

There was another – a delicate (although it really must have been quite tough), lacy Asparagus Fern. Looking this up to be sure I remembered the name of this plant correctly, I should specify that it was Emerald Feather aka Bride’s Bouquet or Lace Fern, Asparagus setaceus/Asparagus plumosus. Hmmm, I see here that it flowers! – although it never did for me as a young girl. I’m not sure how it came to me – a gift? It was planted in a small, approximately 4″ ceramic pot with some type of orange and brown design on it. It reminded me of the deep woods surrounding our cottage on Chain Lake in Wisconsin. I’m not sure where that plant ended up either but you know, I would love another Asparagus Fern! I’m reading online that it can reach 4′ tall! And here I wait this present day for warmer weather and Asparagus officinalis starts.

I remember another of my grandmother’s houseplants writing this – a Prayer Plant. I remember her telling me how it would raise up its leaves in prayer. She had another fuzzy-like plant with deep green leaves that had purple undersides. My mother also has an impressive portfolio of houseplants – Wandering Jew, Swedish Ivy, a Ficus tree, and one that very closely resembled Cannabis sativa but wasn’t. Here, still growing the gardener, is a plant she recently gave me (not sure of the name), that I keep under a glass cake cover, which she also gave me along with a book on my rekindled interest in terrariums – which brings to memory a terrarium I had as that young girl in the shape of a mushroom. This is really some kind of prompt!


My first plants to cultivate my now gardening addiction began in the house before moving me outside.

How about you? Do you remember your first? What began your path as a gardener? Pause a moment to reflect, share your memories here and at You Grow Girl, Grow Write Guild.


Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

11 thoughts on “Do You Remember Your First?

  1. there are flowers on our wild asparagus – but they are TINY white stars. Easily missed unless you seek them out at the right time.

  2. A lot of us were inspired by our grandmothers. I am so impressed by your grandmother’s name and that you would name your garden for her.

  3. I remember helping to tend my mother’s houseplants and admire the flowers she planted. I do not remember my first plant but I think it was also a cactus when I was in college. Wonderful website and I hope when I find more time soon I can join in to the themes.

  4. The first flowers I remember caring for in my very own garden, in front of my papa’s wood shedm were petunias. They were old fashion purple peturnias from seeds my nanny gave me. She also gave me the garden spot and taught me how to turn the soil, plant the seeds, feed the plants with chicken “do” and water them every weekend. My garden was at the NJ shore and each time we went to the beach a few blocks away, I would collect big white clam shells to edge my garden. I still edge the garden on my driveway in the same manner to this day.

    • What a great memory! In Maine I would collect Oyster shells and use them in the garden to deter slugs – but love the look of shells in the garden. Do you still grow petunias?

  5. “A lot of us were inspired by our grandmothers. ”

    Definitely, I couldn’t agree more..

Thank you for joining me in the making of my garden!

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