Pass Along Plants - Gifts for a Lifetime
By: Chris VanCleave, Chairman Helena Beautification Board
I can remember as a small boy a neighbor knocking on the door offering my mother a shoe box full of what looked like ginger root. My mother was delighted. Come to find out, it wasn’t ginger root at all, it was a box full of irises. Our neighbor had divided hers and brought some over to share with my mom. To this day, I dig and share Irises and Daylilies almost every year.
Why dig and divide? Many perennials multiply as they grow and over time become crowded and bloom less. Dividing them reinvigorates the plant and also is an opportunity to share what you’ve divided with a friend or neighbor or to spread them out in your garden to add additional color, texture and delight.
My ears perk up every time I hear someone say “I'll dig some of those and share them with you. “ Why do people share plants? I actually asked my mom once and she said “for me, its pure joy”. I guess she’s right. There is just something about digging up something you’ve grown and sharing it with those around you. I still have irises my mother grew. They mean the world to me. I also divide them every chance I get and give them away for others to enjoy. My mom would be so proud.
Nicknamed "The Redneck Rosarian", Chris VanCleave is passionate about gardening and growing roses. He is an active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Rose Society, serving two terms as President. In 2007, he created the Rose Chat Podcast which has reached over a half a million listeners with news and information on growing the world's most beloved flower, the rose. He was a contributor to the 2015 Southern Living Gardening Book, has appeared on P. Allen Smith's Garden Home television show and was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine. Locally, Chris serves as Chairman of the Helena Beautification Board where he has spearheaded efforts to create a sustainable landscape in one of the Top 100 places to live in the US. His writing is seen on About.com, HGTV, Home Depot Gardening Club and on his popular website; RedneckRosarian.com, where he chronicles his gardening adventures and explores an intrinsic mix of life, faith and gardening. An agent of change with over 20 years' experience in process innovation, Mr. VanCleave is leading the charge to reinvigorate horticulture societies and helping them to reach their full potential in the social media age.