Between the lilac bushes and red bud tree we can hardly see into the garden from our window any longer. Before their growth spurt we could see tulips emerging and hostas and daylilies make their first appearance. Our rhododendron and tulip blossoms may be gone but now the lilies and clematis are in full bloom and summer is everywhere.
We know that Lillian Hormel was an avid gardener who took great pride in her landscapes. In 1909 she proved her skill with a special bloom, but in sharing her gift with a neighbor, neglected to pay attention to one small detail.
From the Austin Daily Herald, August 2, 1909:
“Mrs. Geo. A. Hormel has a heliotrope blooming in a vase in the front yard of her home that is the envy of all lovers of beautiful flowers. Among those who admire this particular plant was [Mrs.] Frank I. Crane who also has vases on her lawn filled with plants. Those raised by Mrs. Hormel grow with the luxuriance of plants in the tropics while Mrs. Crane’s, though fine, are small in comparison. The other day Mrs. Crane called on Mrs. Hormel to find out what she did to make her plants so luxuriant. ‘Why, I have a commercial fertilizer mixed with the soil before the plants were put in,’ said Mrs. Hormel. ‘But it will work nearly as well if you sprinkled over the plants now.” Then Mrs. Crane wanted to know where she could get some of the fertilizer. Mrs. Hormel said she would give her some. They went to the barn and from a sack Mrs. Crane took enough to make her plants grow a foot a day. She sprinkled it in the vases and then each day watched for the wonderful growth to take place. But it didn’t take place.
A few days later Mr. Hormel decided to sprinkle fertilizer on the lawn to give it a rich blue-green color. He couldn’t find any and he reported to Mrs. Hormel. ‘Oh, yes, there’s lot of it in the barn,’ she answered. ‘Come and show me,’ said George. Together they were in the barn and Mrs. Hormel emphatically pointed to the sack from which Mrs. Crane had taken the fertilizer. ‘That!’ Exclaimed George. ‘That’s horse feed.’ Mr. Hormel would not be bribed and so the story got out.”
For those who don’t know, a heliotrope is a traditional annual with loose, flat heads of intensely fragrant, deep lavender blooms. Although you won’t find them in the Hormel Historic Home Peace Garden today, you are invited to stop by and see what is blooming-maybe to the envy of our neighbors…
Friday, June 15
Peace Garden Concert-FREE
JCA-Jamie Braaten and Cody Yost Acoustic
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Bring a chair and enjoy music in the lovely peace garden. Rain or shine.
Beverages will be available for purchase.
Tuesday, June 19
Tricia and the Toonies-The Happy Days Show
2:30 p.m. Indoor show specifically designed for children, but all are welcome
6:30 Outdoor show
Hormel Historic Home
208 4th Ave. NW
Austin, MN 55912