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Plants Embody Memories

How I remember the day we received the Christmas cactus as a gift.

It was 1986 and a sunny June Sunday afternoon. Rita Mae and I were having a party in the back yard to celebrate our wedding .

We invited some friends, including colleagues from New England College in Henniker, NH where I taught.

Our friend’s two twin daughters supplied the classical music with violin and horn.

Our friend brought us a plant, a Christmas cactus.

Today we still have that plant in the living room.

Though it is alive and growing, it has never had a flower over all this time.

But that is alright.

It is the memory that comes up when we look at the plant.

A memory of that happy Sunday afternoon, oh so long ago.


Sometimes I would see a plant in the garden, and its history would unfold in my mind.

Or I would see a photo from the garden and memories would flow.

Here is a picture I took at Chatsworth, the 300-year-old garden treasure in England, one June day, many years ago. [below]

Chatsworth in England. Entrance to the greenhouse.

This yellow vine, at the entrance to the greenhouse, still shines in my memory just as bright as the day I first saw it on our tour of English gardens.

The English garden writer and photographer Graham Rice identified this yellow vine for me.

He wrote, “It’s a laburnum. Usually Laburnum x watereri ‘Vossii’ is chosen for training in this way,” 

Anther wonderful feature about plants. They can sometimes enable connections with other people.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I was lucky enough to stumble across an overgrown churchyard in Norfolk, UK, hidden behind a billowing thicket of lilac and laburnum in full bloom, gold on purple.

    1. Charlott, thanks for sharing this story about the laburnum. I see what it means to you in your remark. That’s all about plants and how we relate to them… Wonderful!

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