Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday Vignette: A Gift From The Past

Wednesday Vignette is hosted each week by Anna at Flutter and Hum.  Check out her blog to join in the fun!

One warm day earlier in the fall,  walking home from an appointment, I decided to take a shortcut up a hill between two mansions from the turn of the last century, now used by multiple little businesses (massage therapist, consultants, etc.)  In what must have been a garden between the buildings was a path up the hill to a level spot now paved and used for parking.  Punctuating the fawn-colored  carpet of fallen leaves was Hedera helix trying to take over the world and scattered pools of lavender colchicum. The ivy was undoubtedly bird planted but who planted the colchicum and when?  Was I walking through someone's past piece of Eden?  A few weeks later, the blooms had disappeared for the year.  For this brief moment, I felt the tug of kinship with a long gone gardener, communicating from a time long past.   What, if anything, will remain of our gardens when we depart?  Gardens most often don't outlive their gardeners but will there be some remnant left for future generations?  When I moved to this garden, a couple of really old trees and drifts of snowdrops were gifts of some former gardener along with lots of cochilcum then blooming in the lawn.
What have we received; what will we leave?

Fare Well

When I lie where shades of darkness
Shall no more assail mine eyes,
Nor the rain make lamentation
     When the wind sighs;
How will fare the world whose wonder
Was the very proof of me?
     Memory fades, must the remembered 
Perishing be? 

Oh, when this my dust surrenders
Hand, foot, lip, to dust again,
May these loved and loving faces
     Please other men!
May the rusting harvest hedgerow 
Still the Traveler's joy entwine,
And as happy children gather
     Posies once mine.

Look thy last on all things lovely
Every hour.  Let no night 
Seal thy sense in deathly slumber
     Till to delight
Thou hath paid thy utmost blessing:
Since that all things thou wouldst praise
Beauty took from those who loved them
     In other days.

           - Walter de la Mare


  1. I've lived a few places with remnant gardens that I worked to restore a bit. In this garden we have a very old oak tree and we have the bill for all the trees planted when the house was built in 1954. I made a point of keeping and spreading the German irises that were here. Having left a beautiful garden behind when we moved here, I know how quickly they disappear.

  2. What a sweet little gift that former gardener left for you. I do sometimes wonder what will happen to this garden when (if) we move.

  3. I hope some of my garden will be appreciated and loved by someone else, but I try to live in the present. I think if we gift our family, friends and neighbors plants from our garden, then in some small way our garden lives on. Whenever I see the bright colchicum blooms I tell myself I need to plant more of them...

  4. The Colchicums are lovely things. I periodically wonder if my garden will find someone who loves it when I'm no longer here, especially as much of SoCal's population seems to prefer the non-existent "no-maintenance" garden.

  5. I love colchicums. They are so pricey and slow to really establish that they often seem to be a privilege of old or even former gardens.

  6. A subject frequently on my mind, as I create a garden for my parents with the intent to leave in a year or two. It's a little sad, but at the same time I enjoy finding these remnants.

  7. A sweet post. I often wonder what will happen to our place once we have to move on. Sigh.

  8. That's a really good question, Peter... One would hope that at least a few parts remain to entice some future visitor. Or, at least inspire some kind of positive reaction, however small.

  9. Love your story. The home we live in now is about 55 years old and a single lady who was 104 years old ( yes, I said 104 )lived here and left behind so many different kinds of plants which still remain and will as long as I live.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.