When I'm not at the computer working, my happy place is my garden. I love my kitchen, too but the garden noses ahead as far as an oasis of relaxing, mind-clearing bliss. This week, I was pulling weeds (suck) and dead-heading marigolds. I had a fleeting memory of sitting with my mother as a child and having her explain how to pull the flower apart and expose the seeds. I remember the afternoon, where we were sitting and the that my fascination with plants was born.
The sights and smells in a garden evoke memories for me. I have some very old-fashioned peach iris that came from my ex-husband's grandmother. She is long gone, but was a kind lady who I remember fondly and am reminded of when they bloom. My own Grandmother LOVED roses. In the summers of my youth, I'd help her tend her pretty rose garden (mostly red roses) at her at her little house in Shelbyville, Indiana. The smell of roses makes me think of her and easy days with no schedule.
My bestie had a dogwood tree on the side of her house that grew gorgeous flowers every spring. I saw one at the nursery and snapped it up. My Uncle Reese had an amazing, formal boxwood garden and the smell of them in the warm sun make me think of him and the masterpiece of a backyard he had. I grow Cherokee Purple tomatoes because my Great Aunt Georgia lived on Cherokee Parkway. Somehow, planting for happiness and nostalgia has become so therapeutic for me. Instant Zen.
I encourage you to add "memories" to your garden. We all know that playing in the dirt is known to bring calm, but customizing the experience with plantings that have personal meaning is such a tribute. Enjoy these warm days in your garden and add some personal history.
This little verse resided in my Uncle Reese's garden in Lexington, Kentucky so long ago.
I believe my mother has the original but this is a great copy. LOVE, it.
(credit: Dorothy Frances Gurney, poet.)
Elizabeth Morse cooks professionally, is an Advanced Master Gardener and lover of all things local.