True story of how the best laid garden plan, turned into one of sentiment instead, much to the gardener’s later delight.
They’re not on my planting diagram, yet friends and family seem to keep popping out of the earth. Not literally, of course. I simply never realized how many of my fondest memories of people are hopelessly entwined with plants.
Like most gardeners, I started with good intentions. I researched the best plants for my garden conditions, consulted a myriad of gardening tomes, and developed a well planned, colour balanced, garden layout. My plan detailed the number and kind of each plant and its location. It looked like something from Better Homes & Gardens.
It all started to come apart at the nursery store. How could I not plant a lilac, my mother’s favourite shrub? Oh, and some lavender for my sister; her garden is too shady; she’ll enjoy a few sachet’s for her birthday. As I wandered the rows of flowers, sentiment trumped sense at every turn.
Although it began as a perennial garden, it just wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t add some marigolds. Marigolds were the best, so far as my father was concerned, as they kept the mosquitoes away. And not just those little dwarf ones either. Dad liked the biggest African varieties he could find in the seed catalog.
Oh! Oh! Some pansies for my brother Chris! How could I ever forget Dad sending him out to buy flowers for the garden. Chris knew virtually nothing about flowers. He could maybe tell a daisy from a rose, but that was about it. Dad told him to “just get ones you like” and hoped for the best. So imagine our faces when six-foot three Chris brought home two flats of yellow and purple pansies!
Then came the gift plants. Well I just had to include the Calla lily from Kayla. Yes, it will need special winter protection, but it was so thoughtful of her to remember how I enjoy gardening. Those bright red geraniums may clash with my predominately blue colour scheme, but Ellen did start them all from cuttings after all.
The garden has now become a riot of colours; blue, violet, yellow, red and orange. In no way does it come close to resembling my carefully contrived “dream garden”. But I wouldn’t change it for all the world.
Because now, as I wander through my garden, doing a little weeding here and dead-heading there, my plants bring little smiles of memories to me. Memories like the time my bunny ate the heads off all of Dad’s marigolds. Memories of cutting massive bunches of lilacs for my mother; her face lighting with joy when I presented them, then, the sweet fragrance that would fill the room. Memories of helping friends plant their gardens.
So, instead of a showpiece, I now have a crowd of my favourite family and friends blooming on my doorstep. I can’t think of a better garden to grow.
Published in: Gardening