June 20, 2013 by

We select many plants and trees for our yards purely for their aesthetics—beautiful color or shape, heavenly scent, or because they pair well with other plants. But sometimes, we choose for sentimental reasons—because they simply remind us a special person in our lives, a fond memory, or a particular place dear to our hearts. We asked Omaha Magazine staff what some of their favorite yard plantings are and what makes them special.

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“My favorite plant would have to be an apple tree. When I was a kid, my family lived in Nebraska City, Neb., home of Arbor Day. Naturally, there were trees everywhere, but we had two apple trees in our yard. Every fall, my dad would bring out the ladder and let my younger sister and I help pick apples. We kept quite a few bags for ourselves, but we also gave some away to family, friends, and neighbors.” – Bailey Hemphill, Assistant Editor & Web Content Editor

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“Growing up on a farm in Iowa, we had those big, beautiful peony bushes…seemed like we had hundreds, many as big as me. There were different shades of pink, and white ones with pink on them. Their smell reminds me so much of my childhood home and running around, barefoot and carefree. Just this last week, my fiancé and I were doing a major landscaping project at our home, and I thought it would be neat to plant a few of those peony bushes. However, before I got a chance to buy them (and not knowing my fondness for them), he said, ‘I hate those peony bushes. They always have ants crawling all over them.’ I had to chuckle to myself. Guess I’ll just have my wonderful memories and admire them in other people’s yards!” – Sandy Matson, Omaha Home Contributing Editor

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“I’m not much of a flower girl, though I do love growing food. This year, I actually planned out my garden and have nice rows with labels. One thing I’ve had for the last three years is rhubarb. It’s made the journey from my grandma’s garden, to my parents, and now I have some of it. It’s loving the rain and growing like crazy. I have been going through the family cookbook and have found many yummy-sounding desserts to try this summer, and I might even throw some into a smoothie for a little extra kick. The leaves can also be used to make walking stones for a pathway. Gotta love all the uses of rhubarb.” – Katie Anderson, Senior Graphic Designer

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“Our second home–the one in which we saw our kids grow from babies to grade schoolers–had a mature Linden tree in the backyard. Our sheepdog mix, Maxie, loved this full-bodied, dense tree for the wonderful shade it offered. Our beloved Maxie has since passed away, and so our family planted a Linden tree in the backyard of our new home in remembrance of her. The kids and I call it the Maxie Tree.” – Linda Persigehl, Managing Editor

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“I have fond memories from my childhood of playing with snapdragons at my aunt and uncle’s house in Glenwood, Iowa. When my wife and I planted our first flowerbed at our new home this spring, we included a row of purple snapdragons—making them snap brings back the kid in me.” – John Gawley, Creative Director