Celebrate National Grandparents Day with Heirloom Blooms

September 6, 2012 at 9:38 am Leave a comment

Sunday, September 9th is National Grandparents Day! President Jimmy Carter created this official day of observance through a Presidential Proclamation in 1978. The next year, Congress requested he make the day an annual event. President Carter obliged by designating the first Sunday following Labor Day each year as National Grandparents Day, a day to celebrate and honor the contributions of grandparents, surrogate grandparents, and senior community members for their contributions to American society and national heritage.

There are many ways to celebrate National Grandparents day, but here at Smithsonian Gardens we think the perfect way is to plan a trip with your grandparent or senior mentor to the Heirloom Garden outside the National Museum of American History (NMAH).

The Rose Queen spider-flower (Cleome hassleriana ‘Rose Queen’) blooms each autumn in the Heirloom Garden.

The Heirloom Garden highlights varieties of plants, bulbs, shrubs, and trees that predate the 1950s. In many cases, the varieties have been passed down from generation to generation of American gardeners, much like the wisdom and traditions passed down by grandparents in our communities. The heirloom plantings that line the terraces around NMAH provide a great variety of species including Johnny-jump-up (Viola tricolor), Rose Queen spider-flower (Cleome hassleriana ‘Rose Queen’), Japanese anemone (Anemone x hybrida ‘Queen Charlotte’), Coleus hybrids (Solenostemon hybrida), Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Scented geraniums (Pelargonium sp. and hybrids), and last but certainly not least, true forget-me-nots (Myosotis scorpioides).

The true forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides) is the official flower of National Grandparents Day.

The forget-me-not, with its delicate blue blooms, is the official flower of National Grandparents Day. The true forget-me-not blooming in the Heirloom Garden traces its origins to Europe and Asia. Although beautiful, it is classified as an invasive in many areas of the United States.

Before you head over to the garden this weekend, check our website to take a look at some of the other plants  blooming in the Heirloom Garden. http://www.gardens.si.edu/our-gardens/heirloom-garden-autumn.html

If you can’t make it out on Sunday for a stroll in the garden, you can still enjoy some of the history behind its many plants through our online audio tour of the Heirloom Garden. Take some time to listen with your grandparent or friend and discover something new together. http://www.gardens.si.edu/our-gardens/heirloom-garden-audiotour.html

Entry filed under: Garden History, Horticulture. Tags: , , , .

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