You Can't Escape The Past in Your Garden

You can’t escape the past in your garden. Whether it is a good memory or a bad memory, it’s out there in your garden, waiting for you to find it, waiting for you to remember.

While out weeding earlier today, I found some good memories and some bad memories in my garden

Let’s go quickly through the three bad memories, because who really wants to dwell on bad memories? I won’t even post pictures of them. They are moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia), a variegated Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua), and tansy (Tancetum vulgare).

These three plants all looked so innocent when I purchased them and planted them way back when. They were probably growing in little four inch pots or something, all contained and looking like pretty little plants. I probably convinced myself that I could keep them under control. In my garden, they would behave.

They are pretty plants, but they all like to take over too much and they did not behave. For years, I’ve been pulling them out as weeds wherever I’ve found them still growing in my garden. Today, I found more moneywort and the variegated Sweet Annie, but no tansy. Maybe after nine years, I’ve finally gotten rid of the tansy?

And now three good memories.

A little woodland violet.
This came up where I once had planted Viola mandschurica, ‘Fuji Dawn’, which is a variegated leaf violet. Those came back for a few years each spring, but then disappeared several years ago. They are ‘marginally hardy’ for me, so I decided they had just had quite enough of the cold temperatures. This one isn’t variegated, but it has a pretty little flower, so I’m leaving it. Who knows, maybe next year, it will have some variegated leaves?

A hollyhock seedling.
When I saw this seedling, I remembered that I had several hollyhocks planted along this section of fence maybe six or seven years ago. I liked them but it seemed as though right when they were at their peak of height and flower, on cue, a thunderstorm would brew up and know them all down. I got tired of tying them all up after the storms, so one summer I yanked them all out before they set seed. Since these are biennials, none came back for several years. But then today, while weeding, I encountered this seedling. I decided that I miss the hollyhocks, so this seedling gets to stay, too.

A verbena.
Seeing this verbena (Verbena bonariensis) now I can’t imagine what I was thinking or not thinking when I decided that it was a little too “free spirited” for my garden. It seemed to come up everywhere, and I must have been going through a “neat and tidy” garden phase to have ripped this one out. But let’s put the past behind us, shall we? The butterflies love it and it is blooming at a time when other flowers generally aren’t. All is forgiven and I’ve decided that if it wants to, this verbena can stay and self-sow a bit in my garden again.

What past memories do you find in your garden while weeding?


  1. How neat that you have plants coming up after all this time. I don't think you'll regret letting that verbena stay. Mine have been blooming since spring and are still going strong. They aren't exactly beautiful flowers but I love them because they attract the butterflies like magnets.

  2. My garden is so new that the only memories I find are of a past that is not my own... like old bottle and china pieces, and rusty crowbars!

    I like my verbena bonariensis and the way it reseeds, but I was surprised to find it covered in powdery mildew for the past couple of weeks. It's in an open area with plenty of sun, so I'm not sure what that's all about. You're right, though, the butterflies love it--so it still stays.

  3. My garden is too young to provide me with memories yet but that will be remedied in the years to come and hopefully most will be good memories.

    You've had some bad luck with the hollyhocks, here's hoping next time will be better, much better for you.

  4. Sadly, I have no V. bonariensis this year, and I miss it. I'll correct that next year even if I have to buy plants of it. It's possible that I weeded it out thinking it was something else.
    I DO have a number of hollyhock seedlings...but will they be yellow (like I've been trying to get for years)? Probably not....
    My best memory plant is the floods--and I do mean floods--of forget me nots; both the more ornamental cultivars and the water forget-me-not (M. scorpiodes), in memory of my father, who died of Alzheimers, and of every one else lost in the fogs of that disease.

  5. Aren't the verbenas amazing? I had the same experience - I used to yank them out, but then I saw that EVERYTHING loves them: butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, dragonflies, even our ferile cat! Now I just let them jump from pot to pot in my potted garden.

  6. oh, my memories are all of violets! Unfortunately, these are good and bad, beautiful plants, very invasive!

    I am having memories of goldenrod as well.

    I will probably be having memories of primroses for some time!

    I have memories of cleomes every spring, and I foster them. I can judiciously thin them and have butterfly feed all summer.

  7. I bet I'd find a bunch of surprises if I ever did some weeding. ;)

  8. Robin's Nesting Place... I think you are right, the verbena flower is a nice filler and it sure does attract butterflies.

    Blackswamp_Girl... That does seem odd for the verbena to have a powdery mildew on it.

    Yolanda Elizabet... I am surprised to read that your garden is too young for memories.

    Jodi... Forget-me-nots is the perfect 'memory' flower from the past!

    Melinda... I hope the one verbena I have right now sets enough seed to start a nice little colony of them for next year.

    Healingmagichands...It sounds like you have a lot of nice memories in your garden.

    LostRose... What? You don't weed? Shocking! ;-)

    Thanks all for the comments!

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens


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