Aunt Kate and Uncle Frank and the Jones sisters
from Tanky's album.
Unless a garden is very new it is bound to hold memories of many kinds. Lately I've noticed blog posts that relate memories of gardens of loved ones, plants that were special either by where they came from or a tie to a long-ago garden that featured certain plants.
Some memories are of special occasions, happy times. My sister had gardenias in her wedding corsage for a second marriage. I was a teenager. I pressed them in a huge heavy book between florists' tissue when she left them behind. The fragrance lingered for years. Now I have gardenia bushes everywhere and always think of her when they bloom.
Other memories are bitter sweet, like the Lycoris squamigera that my brother rescued from Mama's garden and the Kniphofia that a nephew rescued from that brother's garden before the properties sold after their deaths.
Many flowers in my garden are there because of childhood memories: we had thousands of daffodils at home, Gladioli, my friend Kathy's Mother's favorite; philadelphus; my mother's favorite lily the Regal. Others are here because they grew in the tiny suburban garden I had for 30 years.
This morning I noticed that the bud I admired on the Jackmanii clematis yesterday was gone. I've tried for years to bring that thing to flower. Yesterday I thought, the dog can't break this one off now -- it is too tall. Camera in hand I failed to take a pic because I might jinx it. Today it is neatly snipped off by who knows what. The plant is climbing a crepe myrtle the way Jackmanii clematises climbed my little trees in the other backyard. I gave it compost and everything!
Sad memories are tied to several flowering shrubs and trees in my garden: the magnolia that my son's friends brought from Atlanta in his memory; a deciduous magnolia that my co-workers brought when my brothers died.
There's even a memorial annual in my garden. I noticed big cotyledons of Melampodium emerging this week in a border and smiled at the memory of the 91 year old man who carefully dug seedlings and put in a coffee can so I could have a start of these little yellow daisies that reseed so well. Also from his wife's garden is an Oakleaf Hydrangea now in bud.
There's the Red Knockout rose from a friend that came with a little bamboo teepee with an iron monkey hanger in memory of the Monkeyman. The rose soon outgrew the bamboo stakes but the monkey remains in the garden. The rose always reminds me of Nurse Mary, the last of the Red Hot Mamas.
Knockout and Pink Knockout, April 10, 2011Parts of my garden Honor rather than Memorialize. There are the cuttings that Miss Billie broke off and handed over with the admonition, "Here stick this in the ground. It will root." All the loropetalums here are seedlings from Miss Billie, who told me the one with green leaves would have white blossoms, which is does. Janie mailed many, many plants from Texas. Some of them made it despite my feeble care: Belinda's Dream and the Chicken rose and Red Cascade; various gingers. I finally coaxed the German Iris into bloom for the first time this spring. There are many others who sent bulbs or seeds in the mail. I treasure every one.
Bearded Iris and Belinda's buds. I could not wait for either to open fully.