Sunday, January 17, 2010

A floral trail across the years

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.
Hopefully we won't be moving again for a while, but when we do, it will be another link in the trail of flowers across the country and through time.


Rosie Nixon Fluerty said...


I just found you on Blotanical. I have moved house also and I blog from my 3rd garden and in that garden are plants that I brought from my first and 2nd garden. I still have my previous neighbours who write to tell me whats going on in my previous gardens.

Wendy said...

I think this is such an amazing part of gardening.

Leaving a trail is similar to sharing plants I think. A few summers ago, I was renovating an area and gave many iris bulbs to neighborhood friends. When I envision a little piece of my irises sprinkled across my neighborhood - it's very cool.

Anonymous said...

All of this is so very true. Plants do carry enormous associations and whilst I may from time to time forget the name of a plant, I never forget who has given it to me.

You will, I am sure, know the story of Miss Willmott's Ghost. That was certainly a trail......

Nutty Gnome said...

We brought very little plantage (?!) when we moved from Rotherham to Chesterfield, but I gave our neighbours a huge wooden planter packed full of flowers so that they would remember us - so I think I've left a trail of me for other people instead! :)

Joanne said...

What an interesting post.
I love the association with people from plants I have and places from cuttings I have acquired although I think I have always given many more than I received and people sometimes remind me of a plant that came from me which was long forgotten about.
As I get older can't believe I will be 60 on Wednesday many of the people I associate plants with have died which is sad but makes the plants even more precious.

Andrea said...

The last photo is definitely stunning, i am still contemplating on indumentum as i will look for it after browsing on your posts. Happy Valentine's