Favorite impractical, nostalgic gardening story
A few years ago, I posted a topic in the California forum about some butterfly iris seedlings I was desperately trying to save. I'd gone to a lot of trouble to save these little seedlings, even though - as someone correctly pointed out - this particular plant is truly dime-a-dozen in my part of Southern California. It had taken me 6 months just
to sprout them. Those that survived (3 out of 11) did so by finding homes in-ground in friendly soil.
Fast forward to present day. Since that post, a lot has changed personally for me. Structures have been torn down and rebuilt around the house. I switched employers. I spent a year remotely planning a destination wedding and eventually married my DH. I've taken up competitive cycling. We've started trying for baby #1. I'm now exploring ways to steer my career towards one that allows me more time in the outdoors/garden. It's been four years since I first collected those seeds, and it is with great satisfaction that today I report the first flowers are finally arriving.
So why did I go to all that trouble to see these first buds when I could have just as easily knocked on my neighbors door last fall, asked for a clump of hers and probably had the same results budding today? Well, it's pretty silly actually. The day I collected those seeds, I was out for a hike with an old high school friend. We were passing by the community theater on our way to the trailhead when I noticed some seedpods on the ground and simply stuffed them in my pocket. Sprouting them started out to be little more than a gardening experiment, back when I had a lot more time on my hands.
Anyway, it just so happens that I no longer have the friend in my life who was with me on the day I gathered the seeds. Without going into great detail, this friend made a series of choices that were causing her to suffer. And after repeatedly trying to offer help and advice - promptly discarded/disregarded - I felt I would be healthier if I put some distance between us. So even though I can't call this person up to see how she's doing today, when I look at the butterfly iris flowers that are on their way, I feel I will still have a little piece of my old friend as I want to remember her - a lovely, fearless, slightly mischievous lady loaded with brains and charm.
This isn't the only nostalgic plant in the yard. I still have calamondins propagated from both seed and cuttings which came from my childhood home. They remind me of my wonderful parents. Every year, I grow sunflowers that came from my sister-in-law's farm in Massachusetts, seeds gathered on her sunflower-themed wedding day. White jasmine blooms up a trellis, but started off as sprig that fell from the mother plant when my dog knocked over its pot (for which I profusely apologized and met a nice neighbor in the meantime). I have succulents and cacti grouped in pots that come from all over - places I've been and people I've known.
None of these plants are especially rare or exceptional, but I like having these living reminders around the garden. They serve as anchors to happy little times from the past that I might otherwise forget.
Has anyone else bent over backward to grow a common plant, where it was important to keep that one alive because of some special significance or sentimental value? If so, I want to hear your own impractical, nostalgic gardening story.