Spring Legacy

     In Spring there are almost always blooms of color in our yard, especially in certain areas where I see my late mother’s magic. 20 years ago my mother dug up some spiderwort plants in her yard and brought them to me for our new garden. As I planted them I had no idea if they would survive, let alone reproduce.  I also had no idea how special this simple motherly housewarming gift really was.  Each February since then the purple spiderwort flowers bloom. By late March they have taken over large sections of the backyard. I wake up in the morning and look out the window at a small sea of purple heads on green stalks.

    Spiderworts are in the family Commelinaceae and the genus Tradescantia. They are native to North America but the genus was named after John Tradescantia, a 17th century naturalist and gardener to King Charles the 1st of England. Someone in North America sent some spiderwort seeds to Tradescantia in England. The plants are still grown in English gardens.  I can imagine a member of the royal family admiring the spiderworts in their gardens 300 years ago.










My mother died in 2010.  I still miss her every day. But, I don’t feel sad when I see the spiderworts. Instead, I smile and see her reborn in each lovely purple flower.

Backyard Spiderworts (1)


Pictured above:Giant Spiderwort (Tradescantia gigantea)

Sources: Wildflowers of Texas by Geyata Ajilvsgi; Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country by Marshall Enquist

Photos © Betty McCreary

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Born and raised in Central Texas. Spending time outside brings me joy and I love to share my observations. I also belong to two writing groups and enjoy researching my ancestors. I find people interesting, but Nature keeps me sane.

10 thoughts on “Spring Legacy”

  1. What a lovely blog post! Thankful that you included photos because I didn’t think I knew what spiderwort was. When I saw your photos, I recognized them! I’d like to grow some too, but will need to research where I can get them. Your seeds of ideas are blooming!


    1. Thank you for your kind words! Depending on where you live they may grow wild. There are many different species. I read somewhere that there are at least a dozen species in Texas alone. And in the 1700s the seeds sent back to England were probably from the East Coast.


  2. This is the perfect time of year for those of us lucky enough to live in the southwest. Every morning I journal on my patio and appreciate the native/drought resistant plants I’ve planted in my back yard. Butterfly bush, chuparosa, brittlebush, red-tipped yucca, and just yesterday the desert willow burst into violet flowers. My mother didn’t provide any of the plantings, but I have many pictures and fond memories of her visiting. Her favorite place to sit was right in the midst of all the flowering plants. I Photoshopped one and had it printed on canvas. It hangs in my hallway. This was a wonderful post especially with Mother’s Day approaching. Thank you!


  3. Gorgeous images and a moving post. Plants are gifts that keep renewing, coming back over time, till in time we understand their true value. I have plants in my yard that tie me to my mother and her sister (like a 2nd mother to me). If I ever move, I’ll be taking these with me!


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