Garden of Memories

I wish you could see what I see when I look at my garden. It’s like a giant bouquet of memories. Well, let me try to share some of them with you. Did you wear your walking shoes?

Let’s start in the front yard. This oak leaf hydrangea started as a volunteer from my mother-in-law’s garden. It happily took root in mine and I’ve enjoyed watching it grow over the years. In the spring, its white panicles give off a soft scent, enveloping the area in a fragrant cloud. In its shade is a statue of a boy and girl looking at a book. It was a Mother’s Day gift from my husband a few years ago. It represents our son and daughter and the years we spent homeschooling. I can even enjoy it from the kitchen window while I’m washing dishes.

“Hayden and Margaret” beneath an oak leaf hydrangea
When I look at that statue, I remember sweet scenes such as this one.
The Oakleaf Hydrangea’s spring blooms smell wonderful and attract butterflies.

Soon after we moved to our current home, about 16 years ago, my mother helped me plant the purple tulips around this big oak tree. Each spring when they bloom, I remember us out there digging holes together.

I bought the angel from a spring market at mom’s church about twenty years ago. She has moved with us several times and brings beauty and peace to my garden.

If you’ll turn around for a moment, there are some things on the front porch I’d like to show you. The large hanging planter to the left was last year’s Mother’s Day gift from my husband. The glider in the center of the porch and matching chair to the left were gifts from my husband about 27 years ago, when our son was just a toddler.

There are lots of pretty things that I received as birthday gifts this spring: The airplane plant in the back right corner was from my now-grown son who is training to become a pilot. I just realized how appropriate of a gift that was! The miniature roses in the basket there on the porch’s edge were from my daughter. The garden sign above the glider was from my sister, and the small hanging basket of succulents behind the chair was from a friend.

My husband and I bought that old rusty water pump at an auction many years ago. For one of my birthdays, my husband used it to make this water feature. I love listening to its gurgling, and when the windows are open, I can even hear it from inside. Occasionally, birds will come take baths in it while I’m sitting there on the porch. The old rusty milk can to the left was a gift from my mother-in-law many years ago.

Anchoring the front yard, the birdbath below was a gift my first Mother’s Day at this house. I decided to turn it into a planter a few years ago. Each spring I fill it with some colorful annuals and enjoy the height it adds to my garden. The hummingbirds often visit those calibrachoa.

This etched rock sits in front of the bird bath. My mother-in-law got it at one of our area’s arts and crafts fairs a long time ago and gave it to me for a birthday gift. If it’s hard to make out, it’s a wheelbarrow with a bird sitting on the edge.

Wheelbarrow and bird chiseled into rock

As we walk around the paths, there are more memories. My dad made this butterfly stepping stone and the mounted horse weather vane. He passed away a few years ago, so I treasure feeling his presence, knowing that his hands touched these things.

A butterfly stepping stone that my dad made.
A weathervane mounted on a butterfly stepping stone, crafted by my dad.

Some of the plants have special meaning. This spring I wanted to add some rose bushes, so I bought some from the nursery that my daughter works for. They’ll always remind me of her.

“Chicago Peace” Rose

Peonies remind me of my paternal grandmother. As I recall, she had some at the end of the sidewalk that led up to their house. Even as a little girl, I loved sinking my nose into them and inhaling their sweet scent. When we moved back up north where I was able to grow them, I began adding them to my yard. Now I have a lot of them, all different colors and forms.

A friend gave me this pretty “Coral Charm” peony a few years ago. Peonies do well in my yard and are very long-lived, so it’ll remind me of her for a long time.

This “Coral Charm” peony was a gift from a friend.

Red tulips remind me of some that my mom grew when we lived in Oklahoma. I must have been only about three or four years old – it’s one of my earliest memories.

Let’s mosey over to the side yard. The statue below came from my mother’s garden. It reminds me so much of her and her love of gardening. I call her “Melissa” in her honor. It even reminds me of a photo I’ve seen of my mother when she was about three years old. She’s only been here about a year. I placed her in this spot because you can see her from the bedroom window where my mother stays when she visits. I’m working on making that a pretty view.

Also in the side yard, I have an old metal chair. My maternal grandmother, “MeMe,” owned a court motel at one time, and there were chairs similar to this outside the rooms, so it reminds me of her.

Her husband, my step-grandfather, enjoyed photographing birds. He and my grandmother had birdfeeders in their yard, and I remember him teaching me about birds using flash cards. So now the birds visiting my yard remind me of them.

American Goldfinches
An Indigo Bunting – one of my favorite birds!

The rusty rooster on the gate came from my mother-in-law. I think she found it on clearance and gave it to me. The oil funnel-turned-planter on the right came from my father-in-law’s garage. I was looking for some interesting things to use as hanging planters. The colander on the other side came from a garage sale.

So you see, when I’m in my garden, I’m surrounded not only by the plants I’m tending, but also by many wonderful memories. And this isn’t even all of them, but I think you’re getting the idea.

The good news about memories is that they aren’t bothered by pests or diseases, and they don’t have to be weeded! Thank you for visiting my Garden of Memories!

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