Just recently I’ve been reminded how powerful nature can be and how plants evoke memories about our elderly relatives. These can be as powerful for some as music can be for evoking memories for others.
For many days throughout the summer I found myself checking out the rose in my front garden in Waterlooville. I’m guilty in that it receives a little more attention than others and certainly gets noticed more than others (by me anyway) that’s because it’s ‘Grandad’s Rose’. This is not its official name, but the one given it by me. This rose gives me enormous joy each time I leave and return home.
Grandad died a few years ago now at the age of 98, but his memory lives on for me in many ways, but particularly in my garden. When he died, our family obviously had to clear the home, I asked my mother if I could dig up some of the plants from his garden. “With pleasure” was her reply – a keen gardener herself and also took cuttings. Although a sad time, it was special to remember the moments in his garden as a small child. I remember looking out of the kitchen window at lots of colourful pansy’s especially planted there for my grandmother. How many of us enjoyed snap dragons as children? Hours of fun…
He was most definitely the boss in his garden but my grandmother had the odd attempt and successfully grew Gladioli. Her other love were freesias and these are also a favourite of mine, but I’m not as successful at growing them as she was.
When my parents visited recently, I found myself walking around our garden talking about different relatives and friends and the houses the plants came from. I’ve noticed how I name plants by the relative or friend rather than the actual plant name. It was nice to notice how this started conversations with my parents as they shared their memories of those people too. There is nothing more enjoyable to me than walking around my garden knowing where most of my plants came from and who cared for them before me. I have ‘Lily of the Valley’ 4 generations old, and moved originally from under my great uncle’s apple tree in his garden near Petersfield.
More recently, I have found this has included having conversations about plants with our clients. I have had many a conversation about growing a number of different plants over the years and thanks to their wise advice often try growing something new, so now my garden is full of relatives, friends and clients, I can’t think of anything more special than that.
It isn’t only the visual affect but the sense of smell and the memory they evoke and the sheer pleasure I get from them all.