Hello Old Friend

perennial border – late April 2012 (it’s a work in progress)

Back in the early 80′s, I was first introduced to gardening proper by a woman I volunteered with. She had an extensive perennial garden and shared some of her treasures with me as I was building my first garden. Over the years, I’ve been so blessed to have shared plants with friends and having moved many times, there have been many occasions where I’ve needed to replenish my supply.

Every year at this time as the garden awakens, I’m reminded of those friends past and present who have shared their treasures with me. And now here in Tillsonburg, I’m blessed again as new friends are sharing their plants. I’m off today to the gardens of two curling buddies to gather more treasures.

Each of these plants seems to become an old friend as it reminds me of the generosity of those ladies – Rose Mary, Helen, Liz, Wendy. Here are some of my old friends in the garden this late April morning:

This bleeding heart, although new, reminds me of my dear friend RoseMary because she has a gorgeous collection in her “garage bed”. She laments about it every year because it seeds itself and takes over her garden before dying back in the summer heat. I love it’s fuchsia colour and drooping flower fronds.

When I first moved to Oshawa in 1994 and joined the Oshawa Garden Club, there was a lovely lady there named Betty who shared some forget-me-nots with me. She told me I would regret getting them because they “spread like wildfire”. I never regret seeing their blue faces popping up everywhere. They remind me of her – she was graceful, elegant and sunny like these flowers.

A new friend here in Tillsonburg shared these primroses with me just this week. I was thrilled to receive them as they remind me of the time I brought some back from the UBC Botanical Gardens in Vancouver – tucked into my carry-on on the plane ride home.

This deep purple lilac is just starting to open. My husband is extremely happy that there are a number of lilacs on the property. He fondly remembers lilacs in his parents’ garden. I’m glad that he can share in the garden the same way.

Our provincial flower is the trillium. We’ve got a small cluster growing behind the weeping cypress. As the provincial flower, we are forbidden to dig them up when they are found in the wild. I would move it so that we could enjoy it more. But hidden away like this makes it all the more special. It reminds me of a wooded lot in Oshawa on Wilson Ave. that I drove by regularly. It was filled with trilliums each spring. I always made a point of making sure my route took me past it every year.

This bergenia is also new to the garden as I planted it last fall in hopes that the leaves wouldn’t brown out too much in our milder SW Ontario winters. Luckily they didn’t and surprisingly they are blooming.    It’s the first time I’ve had bergenia in the garden. My old gardening friend, Wendy always had it in her yard and I envied it. We would trade plants and stories and gardening dreams together. I miss her.

The day we came to see the house for the first time there was a little vase sitting on the kitchen counter filled with lily-of-the-valley. I think I knew we would be buying the house when I saw them sitting there. Sweet and fragrant, they remind me of a fragrance my childhood friend’s mother wore – Muguet de Bois. And now they remind me of the lovely lady from whom we bought this house.

And finally, this beautiful iris reticulata. Deep purple against it’s light green swordlike leaves. I once had a lovely cluster in a small house that I shared with my ex-husband. They were like a ray of sunshine in those gray April days.

There will be many more friends making appearances over the next little while – Helen’s solomon seal, Liz’s daylilies, Yonna’s hostas and my father’s ostrich ferns. Do you have “old friends” in your garden?

15 thoughts on “Hello Old Friend

  1. Naturegirl

    I love your friendship garden!I also have a new garden new home new friends but as I looked at your flower selection & I miss my past garden..many flowers you mentioned are still there.
    My SIL did give me some white Daisies from her garden and I treasure them.
    Forget me nots..never seem to come back for me? Lilacs..sigh..I do miss them. I am now in a wooded lot so much I love needs lots of sun! Looking for Spring..naturegirl

  2. Paula J

    That is so wonderful to have many of your flowers remind you of people and places. Your border doesn’t look like a work in progress to me either ~ looks so pretty :)


  3. Shasta @ intheoldroad

    Wow, what a great garden. I really like how each one reminds you of someone or something from your past. Great photography too!


    P.S. That bleeding heart photo is going on my ‘flowers’ board on Pinterest. It’s gorgeous!

  4. for the love of a house

    hi Heather! Such pretty photos. I just noticed today that I have some bleeding hearts blooming too, they look just like your photo.
    happy weekend in the garden!

    my porch is actually the 2nd photo and I ‘was’ given credit! also, wanted to pass along Ina’s glassware pattern that you might be looking for… Cristallerie La Rochère in the Amité pattern.

  5. Yona

    I LOVE bleeding hearts. They grow in my parent’s backyard – I think they are so pretty.

    Im stopping by from Create with Joy’s Friendship Friday.

  6. Marie Wreath

    This post illustrates one of the best and most lasting reasons to keep a garden. Heather, what a beautiful,heartfelt way to celebrate Spring! I hope all of those special women appreciate your gifts as much as you do theirs!! xoxo Wow.

  7. Jody and Stan

    Love all your beautiful photos. I found out that name of the blue flower on Rooted in thyme. It’s Sparaxis. It is a perennial from corm. It comes in different colors, but this one is our favorite. Hope this helps you. Love to have you join the linky party with these fantastic photos. Thanks again for your comment. Have a great weekend.


  8. Crafty Gardener

    I call mine the friendship garden, as the plants are either grown from seeds from swaps or plants were given to me by friends. I’m always sharing my garden as well by giving away plants on Freecycle. Lovely photos, you have more in bloom than I do right now.


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