Genealogy in a garden

As the garden bursts into more colour, leaf and flowers I have been around it this afternoon and taken photos of plants that have family history attached to them.

This Campanula or Canterbury Bell plant was my maternal grandmothers. My mother took a cutting many years ago and by my reckoning shifted it to at least 4 different gardens she kept. After her death I brought a cutting home to my garden and here it is many, many years later still flowering nicely from the original plant.

This variegated thyme has come to my garden from my mother’s final garden. She saw the plant growing well in a garden of one of our country’s large airports and commented that she would like a piece of it. The story goes that my Dad quietly bent down and plucked a small piece and once planted, it romped away in her garden. (Note here – my Dad was a very law abiding citizen but he enjoyed this wee story and his daring!) Again it shifted with her several times and it now lives in pots in my garden. It is pretty, delicate and smells lovely when touched.

And here are the chives that Mum gave me a clump of many years ago. I divided the clump last year but here they are growing apace and putting up the lovely mauve flowers that the bees just adore.

“Snow rose” was one of the first carpet type roses and keeps a very low growing, spreading profile. Its position here does not suit it that well but the hardy wee thing keeps on. My parents gave me this plant back in the early 1980’s and it transplanted to this garden in 1988 very happily. As its name suggests it can look like snow when the small papery white flowers cover it.

These lovely carnations are from a plant Mum gave to her good friend. After Mum died her friend was happy to give me some cuttings or slips to try and get these flowers established here. I don’t have the perfect spot for them but after several failures they are now growing well. Mum used to bring us bunches of them when she visited. It is wonderful to have them as a reminder of her and her abilities as a gardener.

The last photo is one of the more recent “historical” plants in my garden. Again it began in Mums’ garden. It is a Nemesia, one of many different colours in this useful plant’s family. My Mum enjoyed seeing the results of all her gardening work but she also took great delight in cutting things back to stimulate new growth and to keep the garden tidy.

Her advice to me on Nemesias was to give them a “good haircut with the hedge clippers” once they became leggy and seedy. I was a little cautious the first time I did this but her advice was correct. The plants bounced back with renewed vigour and began to flower prolifically again.

Another bonus and one Mum also enjoyed as a gardener and thrifty person, is that Nemesia seed easily and so new plants pop up in all many of spots, resulting in a ready supply of new plants to pop into gaps.

Some Nemesia have a lovely scent which makes weeding and gardening near them a real pleasure.

And I posted about the lovely miniature rose that bears the name of one of my children.

Do you have genealogical history in your garden I wonder?


6 thoughts on “Genealogy in a garden

  1. Juliet batten

    What beautiful memories are held in these plants. I still think of the bluebells, when they come up, as my father’s bluebells because I dug them up from his garden after he died and before we sold the house.

    1. ordinarygood Post author

      Gardens and their contents can evoke so many memories and connections. Thank you for your comment Juliet.

  2. realruth

    Gardens make wonderful reminders of people, don’t they? I have a ‘breath of heaven’ that I bought with a nursery voucher given me when my mother died. And this year the brown iris that came from my childhood home has flowered after giving last year a miss.

  3. Marian Kerr

    Great post Lynley
    I have drifts of pansies scattered around the garden, many of them self sown. I always think of my Grandad when I look at them. Their happy faces make me smile and the memories give my heart a lift.
    On a recent trip Home I found out that both my sisters feel the same way and they have made a point of including them in their lives, one of them even has them planted around potted plants on a balcony.

    1. ordinarygood Post author

      Thanks Marian. How lovely to share connections through flowers and the rich memories they evoke.


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