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Snapdragons Remind Me of My Father

June 15, 2011

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By Bernadine Chapman-Cruz

Right from the start, anyone could see that I was the apple of my father’s eye.  A big man, he was somewhat awkward handling a tiny squirming bundle, but his heart lacked the clumsiness of his hands because it was filled with love.

I don’t know where he learned his parenting skills being the last of 12 children whose father died when my father was barely two years old, but without benefit of a paternal role model, he did a wonderful job in filling a father’s shoes.  He loved me with all his heart because I was his baby daughter.

Over the years my father gave me some good advice. He told me “never lick a knife, because you might cut your my tongue, and be careful with pocket knives because you might cut your finger.” I guess my father knew the consequences of these acts from experience because he always carried a pocket knife that he used to sharpen pencils, cut string and slice fruit.

When I was two, we moved to a brand new home in the suburbs. My father took pride in his property, watering the lawn and caring for the yard, always with his precious daughter by his side.  My father’s favorite flower, the snapdragon, filled our flowerbed. He showed me how to pinch open the colorful blooms, exposing the yellow pistils.  “Don’t you be like these flowers,” he said.  “They don’t brush their teeth and they are all yellow.” Then we laughed like a father and daughter should.  Every time I see snapdragons, they remind me of my father.

  • Snapdragons are easy to grow
  • Come in a variety of colors: white, yellow, purple, crimson, bronze and pink
  • Excellent in flowerbeds
  • Attractive as edging and borders
  • Cut snapdragons make nice arrangements either single stems or when combined with other flowers
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6 comments

  1. My grandmother grew snapdragons. As a young girl, I would pinch them so their mouths would open and close. In memory of my grandmother, I always have snapdragons growing somewhere in my garden. Thanks Bernadine for your story.–Dianne

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  2. I love snapdragons too. They are so colorful and last quite a while. I love them on teacups and old-fashioned hanky holders (along with hollyhocks). I have a handkerchief holder that I brought with me from England in 1953 when I was a little girl and it has hollyhocks and other flowers with a girl in a big hat. It holds a few of my handkerchiefs I had when I was young. One has Queen Elizabeth on it. I guess one shouldn’t blow their nose with that one!!!

    Enjoyed your story Bernadine.

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  3. Bernadine, What a sweet and touching story. You have such beautiful memories. Love really does grow in the garden. I too enjoy the sweet smell and the varied colors of snapdragons. Although my father died almost 30 years ago, my memories of him are strong and wonderful. Your story stirred up some of my family garden memories. Sue

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  4. Dianne – your grandmother and my father’s love of snapdragons. I guess we have something in common. Enjoyed doing the piece, thank you for inviting me to be a guest writer on your blog site, I do appreciate the opportunity.

    bernadine

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  5. Valerie – sounds like you like pretty little flower motifs too. And, speaking of Queen Elizabeth memorabilia, I also have several collectible pieces.

    Regarding your Queen Elizabeth II hankie, I don’t think she’d mind, if you had the sniffles. In the research I’ve done on Queen Elizabeth, I discovered that the only contents she carries in her handbag are a lipstick and a hankerchief!

    Glad you enjoyed the posting. bernadine

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  6. Sue – So glad I was able to stir some fond memories of your father through the “Snapdragons” posting. Fathers are very, very special people, especially to their daughters.

    Thank you for the kind comments on my guest writer posting on Dianne’s blog site. Hope to see more comments from you throughout the summer. Dianne has some great information to share with fellow gardeners. bernadine

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