Barbara: As I was making the rounds in my garden yesterday morning I found I was experiencing it in a very different way. The shift in perception was triggered by a single perfect rose on a plant that my daughter had given me for Mother’s Day some years ago. Brass Band is a lovely melon color with the most gorgeous fragrance — sweet and spicy, just like my Sarah.
This sense memory triggered many others as I walked through the yard. Over in the corner is the first California native I planted that prompted me to discover more about my state’s history, which then opened my eyes to a whole new way of seeing this amazing state, one that is more in tune with my sensibility and has made me appreciate where I live. This in turn has helped me to see opportunity where I thought none had existed.
In my atrium is a plant that I struggle to grow with very little success, but I keep planting tuberous begonias because my Grandfather, who was a terrific gardener, grew them and they are as much a comfort to me as my memory of him is.
Scattered under the trees are the descendants of a yellow cymbidium my Dad gave me. He and my Mom had stayed in Pacific Grove for a few weeks one winter. He missed his Block Island garden so much that he bought himself this one plant to tend and to keep him company while he was away. I inherited it when they returned to the East Coast. They too bring warm feelings whenever I see them.
Then there are the clusters of Mondo grass that my dear friend Carol insisted that I take. They languished in a dark corner for months before I planted them. Their lovely arching green blades make me smile as I pass by.
And so it goes. All throughout the garden the plants are also memories that recall good times and loved ones — the ones that are still with me and the ones that are gone but never forgotten.
What about you? Which plants are the memory keepers in your garden?