Dear Kathy, Thank you for the memory keeper plants

Surprise lilies
Dear Kathy,

I've wanted to write for awhile and tell you thank you for being such a faithful participate in my blogging meme, Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on your blog Cold Climate Gardening.

I'm sure it isn't always easy living and gardening in a colder hardiness zone than almost anyone else, or at least anyone else I know, and watching and reading about all our flowers blooming ahead of yours.

While we are all bragging about our crocuses, you are wondering when your snow will melt.  Or we are all bragging about the surprise lilies in bloom, Lycoris squamigera, so you check them out and realize they aren't quite hardy enough for your garden.  (See the picture enclosed of mine blooming this week. By the way, if you think they are hardy enough to try, let me know, I'll send you one next year.)

One fall blooming bulb I do know is hardy enough for you is Colchicum sp.  I think of you whenever mine bloom because you were the one who introduced me to them.  I still grow those you sent me in one particular spot so I know which ones they are.  Thank you again for sending them to me.  Just a few more months until they, too, are blooming.

I am convinced plants were put on this earth by God not just for photosynthesis, which is quite necessary for life, and not just to add beauty to the world and provide us with nourishment.  I am convinced God also put plants on this earth to hold memories for us.

I think of them as memory keepers or vessels.  The Colchicums hold memories of you and the help and encouragement you provided to me and so many others as we got started in garden blogging.   You were one of the first bloggers and lead the way for so many of us!

Many of my favorite memory keeper plants are, of course, passalong plants from friends and family. Colchicums from you, asters from my aunt, hostas from my sister-in-law... it's a long list and I could go on with it for pages.  I always remember the giver each time I see the blooms on whatever plant they gave me.

Just as I am convinced that plants are intended to be keepers of memory for us, I am also convinced that as a gardener, the memories I associate with plants will be some of the last of my memories.  (Of course, being a gardener, some of my first memories to go are of Latin plant names.  I need to be better about labeling plants.)

Which reminds me, I hope the Columbine seeds I sent earlier this spring germinated for you and at least one grows and flowers for you. Then you'll have a memory of me in your garden! (If they didn't, let me know, I'll be happy to send some more.)

With a shared love of gardening,

P. S. Speaking of memories, I am just getting ready to read your son Rundy's memoir, The Sea is Wide: A Memoir of Caregivingabout the three years he spent caring for his grandfather, your father-in-law, who had Alzheimer's.  His book is  getting some wonderful reviews - I will add mine once I've finished the book.


  1. Thank you very much, Carol. I agree, plants hold memories for us and that is part of their created purpose. Rundy's book is a free Kindle download through August 2nd, so anyone who wants to read should be able to do so. You don't need a Kindle, just a device that can run the Kindle app, which includes smartphones, tablets, and "regular" computers.

  2. P.S. And I think I will take you up on the offer of a surprise lily. I looked it up and at least one source said it was hardy to zone 5. I grow lots of plants hardy to zone 5 in my garden, and you never know until you try!

  3. That was lovely. I, too, have a memory plant from Kathy and it's a colchicum! Thank you Carol for sharing these wonderful essays with us.

  4. I have many memory plants in the garden. It is always a nice memory thinking of the generous friends and family that share their plants with me.

  5. When I do "walkies" in my own garden, I see the various gift plants from friends. I am always surprised at how many of them there are. I hope I have been a generous as others have been with me. Nice thoughts, Carol, as always.

  6. I have plants that were shared, and they are treasured. BTW, my surprise lilies are about to burst into bloom.

  7. I don't think anyone actually BUYS resurrection lilies, do they? Isn't the rule that they must be simply passed on to someone else? That's what I heard.


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