Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Personalised plants

A friend has just been round for coffee and has departed with a half-boot full of hardy geraniums, lysimachia, and alchemilla mollis - all clumps resulting from my autumn tidying and overhaul.  It's great being able to recycle plants this way as well as via the compost heap and it made me think about all the bits and pieces in my garden which I have acquired from friends and family.

Centaureas from mum and dad

Cheng's cerinthe

Aunty Edie's snowdrops

My borders are home to snowdrops and peonies which have followed me from London to Birmingham and originated (via a green-fingered great aunt) from my parent's garden in Derbyshire.  When I look at my eryngiums, I think of them growing like weeds and self-seeding throughout my sister's sandy-soiled, wild garden, and although not prolific breeders in mine,  they still survive my claggier conditions.   The euphorbia amygaloides robbiae which shouts its lime greenness under my trees throughout spring also came to me via the sibling route, along with mourning widow geraniums and feverfews.

Flowerbeds are, in this way,  populated with  people. Walking around the garden, the plants bring to mind the person who gave you those seeds, that snip, or that shoot of something that is now a large character in your garden - it's one of gardening's great pleasures - a kind of herbaceous memory box with different friends and relatives popping up to the fore throughout the seasons.

Another pleasure is being able to share all these with other plant-lovers (especially when it comes to thinning out thugs like dog daisies, hardy geraniums or lysimachia). Nothing is easier than being a generous gardener -  so come round for a coffee and leave with plants!

 Lychnis coronaria from my sister's garden - just gorgeous, but currently sparse after 3 wet years!


  1. Your snowdrops from Aunt Edie are lovely. I'm still trying to get mine to spread and make a better display.

    I associate certain plants with family members for who they were a favourite. Also, some plants bring back memories of specific times. These all add an emotional layer to the garden, on top of the colours and scents.

    1. Mine are planted at the edge of a maple tree canopy - the soil is quite heavy and they seem to be thriving and multiplying enough for me to lift and divide them each year. Are yours in shade or a sunnier spot?

  2. I found your blog via Blotanical and love to see your garden through the year. Your last post is so true! I also sometimes walk round the garden and open my "herbaceous memory box" (your words) to see an old ancient rose from my grandma, a white rose from my parents neighbour, lots of shoots, cuttings and plants from seed of different friends. I like dreaming of all these plants and people in my garden on a silent early morning with the company of my border collie Snarf.

    1. Thanks for visiting. The only problem with 'inheriting' plants is that often their proper names are unknown, which makes them hard to replace if they disappear and it also makes it hard to recommend them to others (e.g. on a blog!). Enjoy your garden prowls with Snarf...