I spend most of my summer evenings tending to my vegetable garden and flower beds while my husband sits nearby in an Adirondack chair, enjoying an IPA and throwing the Frisbee for our two dogs. The cat slyly hides under my Loraine Sunshine, which is conveniently located under a birdhouse full of chirping fledglings. The undyingly hot sun slips behind our house, and the lightning bugs begin to glow. It is my oasis. Well, almost.
We live next to a busy highway, so Jacob and I can only make conversation in-between the cars and semi-trucks passing by at 55+ miles per hour. We are often literally interrupted mid-sentence by an ear-piercing HONK, a tire hitting a rumble strip, or the surprisingly clear conversations of passing motorcyclists. Despite the less than ideal location, we love our modest home on the one-third acre where our pets are free to roam (within the walls of our privacy fence), where we grow heirloom vegetables to share with family and friends, and where I have planted so many perennials gifted to me by the people that I love.
When I walk through my flower beds, I gaze upon lovely flowers, but I am also reminded of the people who have supported my gardening endeavors. I see and smell my wonderful mother in the fragrant Scarlet Bee Balm that she gave to me. I say hello to my loving grandmother amongst my thirteen varieties of daylilies transplanted from her garden. I am reminded of my great grandmother when I arrive at the Lily of the Valley, in all its preciousness, which descended from ones planted on her farm decades ago. My cool aunt comes to mind when I admire the wild-looking Husker Red Beardtongue that we dug up together in May. The coneflowers were a gift from my generous 5th grade science teacher, who is also a family friend, when I briefly visited her quaint acreage a couple months ago. Most recently, my Black-Eyed Susans were an addition from a new friend who is in the midst of re-landscaping.
One of my favorite sentiments is when people plant trees in memoriam of their loved ones who have passed on. A tree is a beautifully enduring reminder of those people as we mourn our loss and move through life without them. On the other hand, my flower beds have become a living tribute to the special people in my life, both alive and gone. It is a daily reminder that my life is rich with good relationships, even beyond my immediate family. I never want to take that for granted.
Many of my perennials have grown so quickly over the past few years and will need to be divided before they emerge and bloom again next spring. I am thoroughly excited to be on the giving end of this plant exchange soon. When it happens, I hope that I am sharing more than just a plant. I hope that we share a visit and create a lasting memory. Do you have plants that came to you from special people? Or a network of friends or family with whom you exchange plants?