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.
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