Lucy Corrander asked a great question on a post on Silvertreedaze recently. Plant Mad Nige had listed 50 desert island plants. Lucy asked how much of the list was logical and how much associated with memories.
Plants are uniquely easy to associate with memories. Their perfume, flavour, appearance, and sometimes even touch and sounds can instantly tranport you back in time. Many of these will have emotional links to the past, and cultivating these plants is one way of maintaining these links.
The taste of raspberries fresh off the canes reminds me of my grandfather, as does the smell of wallflowers. So many flowers remind me of my mother, and my previous (second) garden was full of plants grown from her cuttings. Below is a photo after we'd been in our second garden for a couple of years. We were only there three years.
Being on our third garden now, I look back and see a trail of the plants I've grown in each garden. The trail starts from memories, and passes through all three of my gardens. Not necessarily anything exotic, rare or wondrous, but plants that have done well for me, plants that remind me of a time of my life.
One plant that trails through all three of our gardens is Clematis 'Black Prince'. It's not showy, it's not rare, but I plant it wherever we live for reasons that might seem inconsequential to anyone else.I plant Rudbeckia 'Rustic Dwarves' for the same reason. Here it is, again in our second garden, adding colour to what was a bare bank when we moved in six months before. Nor rare, not subtle, but bright and fun.
Other plants that I have left as a trail across the country include Solomon's Seal, pittosporum, Allium christophii, Rose 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' and Rodgersias.