Friday, July 6, 2012

A Legacy

Years ago my husband and I used to vacation on Vinalhaven, an island off the coast from Rockland, Maine.  There we had the pleasure to meet a man, Floyd Robertson, who had grown up on the island and then moved back when he retired from psychiatry.
Al was walking one morning and saw a yard totally taken up with daylillies of every color, shape and size.  Floyd was out deadheading so Al stopped to comment  on the gorgeous flowers.   Floyd, with the dry humor we came to appreciate said "Well, at least you know what they are!" and invited him to come to the back to see the rest.   Al said he'd be right back, that he knew I'd want to see them, too.  And our friendship began.
For the next seven or eight years of Floyd's life we visited him when we were on Vinalhaven.  I loved going over in the mornings to help him deadhead - we'd often fill a couple of five gallon buckets with spent blossoms, chatting all the while.  
He started our collection - carefully packaging about 15 different types to send home with us.  The instructions were very explicit about how to plant them and care for them, what to do if we wanted to experiment with hybridizing them.  Gradually he added to our collection.  He knew the names of every flower he had, often remembering where he'd gotten the variety and what he'd paid for it.  We have not been good about remembering all of this and that would disappoint him.
But we look forward to their blooming every summer.  Al works to discourage the deer from nibbling them as they look forward to them, too.
We are not alone in delighting in Floyd's flowers.  He sold and gave away thousands over the years.  They are probably everywhere up and down the east coast - and maybe farther.  I suspect that all of the beneficiaries think of him often as they put the plants to bed in the fall and wait eagerly for the blooms through the spring.

Thank you, Floyd, for the joy you've added to our lives.  Rest in Peace!


  1. Becky,

    I just loved this story about Floyd and his flowers. Very heartwarming and interesting. Thanks for sharing his love of his flowers with us too.


  2. Hello dear Becky,

    I was looking at your folk art page but was immediately distracted by your lily story and thought I'd tell you one of my own. Several years ago I went with a friend to see a lily collector's garden one summer morning. She had dozens, maybe even hundreds of blooming daylilies and was deadheading (4 hours every morning, she told us) as we admired. She told me pick one out that I liked, that the flower would last all day. I couldn't imagine how I could possibly choose just one, but I finally did. The grower bent down and looked at the marker at the base of the plant that grew the one flower I had chosen and told me, "This one is called Margaret Seawright." How unlikely is that?? Other than that it was one syllable off, it was the perfect flower for me. Now I'm hoping to get a whole plant!!

    I hope to see you again one day soon. Love, Marghie

  3. Marghie,
    What a perfect story! Can't get over how close the name is. Yes, you must get that plant for your garden!
    If you're down this way, do call and come - would so love to see you! And if I get that way, I'll do the same!