Free Give-away! Otherma’s Bush


When my mother was growing up in rural south Alabama, her paternal grandmother lived with Mom’s family.

Sidebar:  This was after Granddaddy Ellis Lindsey(see April 8th blog) had died.  Otherma’s real name was F.C.— only initials.  I suppose they had so many kids back then that they just started naming them initials.  That wasn’t good enough for Otherma, so when she grew up, she filled in the initials and called herself “Frances Carol.”  (Later, Gramma honored her by naming Mom “Frances,” and a cousin got the name “Carol.”  We’re really big on family names in the rural south.)

Because Otherma lived with them and was so close to her grandgirls, Mom and her sisters started calling her “Otherma,” as in “other mama.”  Mom told me that Otherma once said that living with her son, daughter-in-law, and three granddaughters were the happiest years of her life.

While living with Mom’s family, Otherma planted a shrub on the family’s farm in Gihon Springs.  Mom and her sisters call it “Otherma’s bush.”

It truly is an heirloom bush in that Mom and Aunt Joyce have always had the plant growing in their yards.  I brought a rooting from Gihon Springs and planted it in north Alabama when I moved up here.  I planted it all around my yard.  It pretty much grows anywhere that you stick a sprig into the ground!

Otherma1It has the most beautiful pink blossoms that pop out during early spring, every year.  The blossoms look like Barbie-doll-sized pink pom-poms.  The shrub blooms for about two or three weeks and then sheds, leaving beautiful leaves until fall.

It makes the most wonderful floral confetti when the bush gets ready to lose its blossoms.  Princess Buttercup, my young dau, has a great time tossing the blossoms into the air and watching the petals fall all around like rice at a wedding (do they even do rice at weddings anymore?).  She also made some “homemade perfume” with the tiny petals.  I think she used water, Otherma’s bush petals, and…something else like soft soap, to make it smell good.  I kept it for her until it turned icky and then poured it down the sink drain.

Little pink petals fall all over the ground when Otherma's bush sheds its blossoms.
Little pink petals fall all over the ground when Otherma’s bush sheds its blossoms.

After doing an Internet search on the plant, I found out that the bush is actually called a “Dwarf Flowering Almond (Prunus glandulosa Rosea Plena).”  It’s extremely drought tolerant, can withstand heavy pruning, and grows about 3-4’ wide/tall.

Call it what you will, but it will always be “Otherma’s bush” to us.  If you live close to the Huntsville area, I will be glad to give you a sprig for your yard.  Just let me know!

The pink blossoms make a beautiful contrast to the blue sky and new, green foliage.
The pink blossoms make a beautiful contrast to the blue sky and new, green foliage.

0 Responses to Free Give-away! Otherma’s Bush

  1. Some that I know that I have are Black-eyed Susan, Honerine Jobert Anemone, September Charm Anemone, Snowdrop Anemone (the Anemones spread if they are in a happy place) spiderwort, and for the shade: Lenten Rose, Merry bells, and Lilly of the Valley. Let meknow what you would like.

    • I’d like them all!  😉  Maybe I can come by one day and pick some up.  I can trade several varieties of day lilies (almost all from Hsv botanical gardn) and several varieties of irises (some i got from hsvbg plant sale).  would love to share!


  2. I remember Otherma and I’d love to have one. But I live in Central Florida. Your mama was my best friend when we were in school. I moved there when we were going into the 8th grade. and she was the first person who befriended me. It was a good thing, because I’d grown up in Mobile and had spent my whole life in the same house, same Church, same school friends that I’d started first grade with. We met in Coach Hutchinson’s class and became fast friends spending many lovely times together… in classes, visiting each other, and especially in band. She sat right behind me for part of the time, and as I said, we spent many happy hours together. We loved Band. Uncle Buck told me one time that I was the only teen that he’d ever seen who knew how to close a car door. I told him that if he knew how many times my daddy had told me how to, it wouldn’t surprise him that I knew how! 🙂 I love your mama even ’til today, and her family was as fine as any I’ve ever known in my lifetime. We were four girls, your mama, Margaret (Jo) Harmon, Betty Watley, and me, which we referred to as the Four Musketeers. We were all in band, until Betty dropped out. But we were usually together. We did have enjoy life so much. I didn’t intend taking up so much space here, but I have enjoyed reading your lovely blog, and shall again. If you think Otherma’s bush will grow down here, I’d love one. Otherwise, I’ll plant it at my brother’s place outside Mobile. Flowering Almond are such lovely bushes and the flowers are so very desirable, though the season is short. It’s been lovely, Steph, so ’til later, have a blessed day, Wanda Lois Smith-Sakowski

Leave a reply