Monday, September 24, 2012
Plants in Granny's garden
We walked in the Botanics a week or so ago and I took this picture of autumn crocuses, which aren't really crocuses at all, but colchicum speciosum. And I thought of my lovely Granny, who grew lots of these bulbs. And I also thought about the various things that are inside our heads that we probably never talk about but which are inextricably woven into our memories of people and places. For me, even as a small child, plants were endlessly interesting and the plants I knew best were those in our and my grandparents' gardens. As well as autumn crocuses, I asssociate proper spring crocuses with my grandparents' garden - yellow ones. My Granny's house faced south and I have a vivid memory of sitting on her front path - which was made up of some sort of composition material with bits of granite in it which sparkled in the sunlight - and it was warm and sunny, warmer than you'd expect in early spring, and there were bees buzzing around those yellow crocuses which grew down each side of the path. And I had nothing I needed to do, no responsibilities, no worries - I was only really aware of the garden and the crocuses and the bees and the sunshine.
At the front gate were two laburnum trees with yellow tassels blowing in the breeze in summer - again I shall always associate laburnum with my grandparents. And in various places in the garden there were lavender bushes. Granny used to cut the flowers and sew them into lavender bags which she put in between her clothes in the drawers and wardrobes, so the scent of lavender always reminds me of Granny. Also the scent of mothballs. I don't know if my children would know what mothballs smelt like: naphthelene. I suppose it's not that beautiful a scent, but to me, mothballs and lavender = Granny = happiness and security and approval.
There was a lot of Rose of Sharon in that garden, and a lilac plant whose name I don't know - the flowers are a bit laburnum-like, but the plant is much smaller. Is it herbaceous? A small shrub? I'm not sure. And in the summer, my grandfather had wire netting stretched between canes to support sweet peas. My sweet peas are never so good. Again, that scent...
And you? Do you have plant memories from childhood?