"By this time, it was into May and the weather in Virginia Beach is quite different from Randolph County in May! It was warm.
"However, we had a 'freak frost' and 'killed' the plant. A couple of weeks later I noticed green shoots coming up from the roots!
"'Shane' has produced many young ones in his 38 years and been spread over a large portion of the United States by friends in the Navy, until our retirement in 1989 brought us back to West Virginia!"
Jan Hargate was the subject of a column several years ago thanks to her amazing amaryllis collection. She wrote to remind me of an amaryllis she received in 1977 that is still in its original pot. She still has it -- it's not blooming, but it continues to put out leaves each season. She's keeping it just to see how long it stays alive even if it's not blooming.
She also told me about another favorite oldie.
"I also have a ratty-looking Hindu rope plant that was purchased when I lived in Virginia, in the mid-'60s and early '70s. Moved from Virginia in 1975 so it is at least 37 years old. It no longer looks good but has also become an experiment in just how long it keeps hanging in there. When I lived in Toledo, Ohio -- 1975-81 -- I purchased a ponytail palm, which still lives on my deck in the summer and in a big window in the garage in the winter. My recollection is that I bought it early in my Toledo stay, so it is roughly 35 years old.
"Obviously, I take my favorite plants with me when I move. After the van is loaded, the 'keepers' get loaded in the car along with one suitcase, and I am off to my new residence. People at the rest stops along the way must have been really amused when they peeked into my car!"
Betsy Keene, of South Charleston, tells of a dear old perennial in her garden.
"It is a coral bell. My grandmother lived on Oakmont Road in South Hills and had a gorgeous rock garden behind her home. I remember it as a little girl. My mother used to tell how the newspaper would come and take pictures!
"She died in 1960 and the house was sold. My mother brought a coral bell from the garden to her home on Forest Circle and later shared it with me. My mother passed away in 2001. As both my daughters have now settled into what may be their 'forever homes,' I will be sharing this very special plant with the next generation."
Thanks for writing!
Reach Sara Busse at sjbu...@gmail.com.