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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Tressie’s Flowers

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Joyce Friels

Local Gardening


My great aunt, Tressie, was born in 1886 in a large two-story stone farm house in central Indiana. She was the youngest of nine siblings. Their home was in the country, located on several hundred acres of farm land. The children all grew up learning to farm this land as well as tend to the horses, cows, pigs and chickens.

At the back of the house an acre of land was plowed and tilled for a large vegetable garden, which was called a truck patch. Every spring the whole family would help with the planting of root vegetables and seasonal foods. This harvest would give them food throughout the next year.

Large lilac bushes, cherry trees, apple trees, pear trees and grape vines were growing throughout the large yard. There were also maple trees and elm trees to give shady places for outdoor family picnics and games. In later years, the family reunion was always a celebration to look forward to in the summer.

Tressie and her four sisters all learned to be terrific cooks, seamstresses and house keepers. These were skills the girls were expected to learn, but Tressie’s first love was flowers. She loved to help her mother prepare the planting beds and fill them with hollyhocks, snap dragons, four-o’clocks and gladiolas.

When Tressie was older, she and her sister Nellie dug up a large space in the back yard. In this flower bed, they planted dozens of tulip and daffodil bulbs. Each spring these bright flowers could be seen from the kitchen window. They made another large bed in the front of the home. Here they planted dahlias, zinnias and cannas.

In the fall, Tressie and her sisters would gather dried corn stalks and dried gourds from the truck patch. These would be made into wreaths for the front door and the gate to the farm. At Christmas time, the whole family would take the horse and wagon out to a stand of pine trees on their land. The children would pick out the prettiest tree and their father would cut it down. The older brothers would load it onto the wagon and bring it up to the house where they would trim the lower branches and nail it onto crossed pieces of wood. The tree would then be brought into the home and placed in the large living room across from the fireplace. The children had a wonderful time stringing cranberries and popcorn to decorate the tree.

Tressie loved to work in the flower beds and was always eager to plant something new each spring. Her love of flowers gave her many, many years of joy while living and working on the family farm. When she and two of her sisters sold the farm and moved into town, she continued to plant flowers around their new home. On most sunny days, you could see her tending to her flower beds and enjoying their beauty.


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