As I walk around the yard and through the various gardens, I am walking among friends and surrounded by loving memories. I don’t just see and smell roses and lilies and flowering shrubs about me. So many of the plants in our gardens were donations from friends and family members or have other comforting associations. The growth and blooms of these plants constantly renews my spirits. The yard seems populated with the colorful singing and laughter of special people.
In spring, the first thing to bloom, often even before all the snow is gone, is the incredibly fragrant Magnolia Pat surprised me with upon my return one year, when my Mom and I went to England. Then the Crab apple spreads magic with its tight pink rose blossom-shaped flowers, a perpetual gift from Mary Ellen, Katie and Liam.
Soon after, Margaret’s Hostas are pushing through the soil, reaching for the spring sunshine. Then Joy’s white lilac begins to bloom and I am intoxicated with its scent. For years we talked often about the elusive white lilac, then one year she gave me a very hardy little shrub that blooms with a pearly pale pinkish white flower. It grows a bit taller each year.
Roberta’s Snow-in-Summer spreads out under the perennials in front of the Alberta Spruce Hedge, reaching a little further each year. Then Jim, Mary and Heidi’s irises are thrusting skyward and glowing in shades of white, yellow and violet. Norm and Carol’s Rhubarb has been ready to pick for a month now and Dorothy’s chives are blooming. Mary’s azalea puts forth snow-white blossoms and the dainty lace-like leaves of Lucilla’s Father Hugo rose are paving the way for the delicate yellow buds to follow.
In the herb garden, Linda’s Roses always bloom right before Father’s Day, just as she said they would. Marie’s Mountain Blue is smiling with bright blue eyes as I walk by. It will bloom again in the autumn if I trim it back in-between.
When I pull into the driveway in the summertime, a large blue Endless Summer hydrangea greets me, courtesy of Liam and Gabriel. They excitedly presented it to me the first time the plant was available for public sale, getting me ‘the first one off the truck.’Endless Summer Blue Hydrangea
Annette’s day lilies dance along the edge of the lawn in a variety of colors, reminding me of the various plant excursions we’ve shared. Nancy’s standby orange day lilies spread a bit further along the border each year.
Jack’s Ajuga faithfully returns each spring and his Russian Sage basks in the sun along the fence. A little further down the path, June’s Cheddar Pinks peek out from the picket fence and her Lady’s Bedstraw has settled very nicely beneath the apple trees. Chet’s English Ivy has run wild over the garden shed. He said one day it would take over but I never really believed it until this year when I had to trim it back, inside the shed! His Jack O’Lantern Plants seem invisible until late fall, when they suddenly appear from nowhere to grace the Halloween garden.
I can smell Dorothy’s mint, long before I see it. It reminds me of long cool glasses of iced tea on hot summer days.
Janet’s Weigela blooms in shades of pink. That shrub began as a renegade shoot that pushed under from her side of the fence. It grew to a full-sized shrub on our side, outliving the parent plant on the other side. The Spirea, dressed in delicate deep rose finery, entered our yard in the same way and has been a special guest ever since.
The Heritage Rose from Mom and Dad really enjoys the company of Lucilla’s Garlic Chives, a successful companion planting. I feel blessed with all these garden memories; every time I stroll around the yard I feel the love of my friends and family surrounding me. I like to think of all the plants I have divided and shared from my own garden, now thriving in new homes and giving happiness to other appreciative gardeners like myself.
What memories are planted in your own garden?