The Gift That Keeps on Growing

by | Dec 2022

Passion flower vine.

Alison Feik

At this time of year, we are reminded of family traditions—small acts that can grow in meaning with each consecutive year.

It’s the passing of time that made Bob Horn’s family tradition so impressive to me. One spring, he gifted me with a passion flower vine, growing in a gallon-sized pot. He had tended to the plant in his kitchen window over the winter. That previous summer, Horn gathered cuttings from the vine and took them inside to root-out in a glass of water. Once they had grown sufficient roots, he transplanted the vines into soil and cared for them in a sun-filled kitchen window. It was a passion project, if you will.

Horn had been diligently executing this annual ritual since 1986—the year his father, Herb Horn, passed away. The elder Horn started the family tradition in the early 1940s when a neighbor gifted him the plant while living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For more than 80 years, the Horns have enjoyed the exotic blooms
of this tropical species right here in the frigid North.

I felt inspired to keep my gifted passion flower vine alive, as well. After two seasons of failed attempts and Horn’s continued encouragement, tips and generosity in sharing plant propagations, I have now successfully overwintered last year’s vine. I believe another family tradition is beginning to take root.

Alison Feik of Excelsior has a degree in landscape architecture and holds a wealth of knowledge about local plants and gardening. Grow more at


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