We never met, yet we feel very welcome in their home. Although we used to joke that it was their ghosts that would ring our doorbell at the most unusual times. True story! And in case you are wondering, we checked and no one was ever around so we know it wasn’t a prankster. It did become a little-bit eerie. But that was so long ago now that I can’t even remember how we fixed that problem. We’ve lived in our “first home” for over 20 years now. And there has only been one other family living here before us.
The Richardsons passed away before we bought this house. But there were clues that told us a lot about them. For example the multiple house projects and inventions that would make even “Tim the tool man” proud. A collapsable toilet paper roll holder. A spinning wheel of jars that held every nut and bolt imaginable mounted on the wall. A sink in the garage with an retro solo cup dispenser and a round vintage mirror that hangs from a chain above it. This sink is where my paintbrushes are washed now. My studio expands the bulk of the unfinished basement. What makes it unique is the multi-colored speckled 1960’s tile floor. It too spans the entire basement and even lies under the parked cars in the garage. It serves as a reminder that the Richardsons’ once hosted square dances here! The dance group name was “The Gems”. That clue was found spelled out above a tall mirror outside a little changing room alcove.
But I want to share a very special clue with you. They appear in our front yard at the corner of our house annually just outside the dining room window. To be honest, I always forget about them until they magically appear. This year there were so many more blooming than in years past! It was like they were just begging for my attention! So after my annual remembering of Mrs. Richardson, complete with wonder about where she got them and if they were a gift, I carried my favorite vase outside on a mission to bring some inside.
I shared the photos on social media and really enjoyed the comments. Someone said they have never seen that color or species before. Someone else called them “magic lilies” and the name has stuck with me. To think they were here so long before we moved in! That’s over 20 years of life in a yard with little to no attention! I feel certain Mrs. Richardson had no idea how long these magic lilies would survive or who they may bless when she planted them. Or maybe it was handy-man Mr. Richardson who planted them for her to enjoy?! I like to make up stories.
It was inevitable that this would be the year I would paint them. I have painted them twice now. Each time brought with it those familiar thoughts about the Richardsons while I studied the details and mixed colors to match. Now that I think about it, I realize I’m passing along the Richardsons’ legacy and extending the life of the lilies even further! The floral baton has been passed.
Do you have ghosts in your garden? Do you take clippings from sentimental places for your garden? I’d love to hear in the comments below! If painting didn’t take so much of my time, I like to imagine I would have a beautiful garden. Perhaps I already do! It’s just happens to be on canvas.
(One of the paintings featured here is still available in the shop. See it here.)
Jo Isom says
Right after we purchased this home the previous owner stopped by to visit. She took me around the yard and told me about every plant. I will never forget her story of this home.
Amy Crews says
You were so dear to spend that time with her. I’m sure it meant a lot to her. I wish I had taken a clipping from my mom’s garden to transplant. She was always working on it.
Tracey Baker says
I love this! My parents built a new house on a piece of long-held family property when I was a child. No one had lived in the old house for years and it was too far gone to save. There was even an old family cemetery in the backyard. What we didn’t know until our first spring there was that the side yard had been their flower garden. Imagine our delight when daffodils, lilies, and creeping phlox appeared in an area that had long been neglected! Then roses bloomed nearby! What a treasure! Your story reminded me of that joy….thank you.
Amy Crews says
Oh what a great story and wonderful surprise! I love that! I lived in a big old house in college for a short time built around 1905. It was so fun to imagine how it once was in it’s grandeur. But there was a camellia garden in the back yard. Thank you for sharing!
Carol Bonham says
Love this story of the lilies and your home. I have peonies from a clipping taken from my BFF’s home from over 25 years ago and now they will have extra special meaning each spring when they bloom since she just recently passed in October of this year.
I think if you paint the lilies again you should call it Gems!!
Amy Crews says
What a special way to honor your BFFs memory. Quite a while ago and still blooming beautifully. Isn’t that wonderful? And, that is a great idea about “Gems”! Thank you for sharing and commenting Carol.
David O. Crews says
Having spent time in your yard in the past, I love your story. The paintings are gorgeous!!
Amy Crews says
Thank you Judy!