Every plant has a story or meaning in my garden.

Even gardening chores often remind me of places, friends, occasions and fond memories. I bet you are the same.

There's a smashing little plant called Erigeron karvinskinaus or Mexican fleabane. It loves dry conditions and popping up all over the place. Whenever I see my own plants, small yet thriving and standing up to winter without any bother, it takes me back to many super family holidays when the children were small, admiring the same plant flowering its socks off in Padstow. The smell of a warm pasty does the same.


A great herbaceous plant called astrantia always transports me to my first Chelsea Flower Show (back in the mists of time now) where I manned the stand for a world leading nursery. The very first technical question I was asked - as I stood nervously next to the most gorgeous plants ever - was from some dignitary who wanted to know where the toilets were. 'Turn left at the astrantia stand'. Life was never the same.

tomatoes growing on the vine

Even now, sun ripened tomatoes, still warm in a late summer afternoon, remind me of my teenage years when my dad used to pick them for his lunch straight from my little greenhouse (I didn't like eating them back then – I tolerate them now but they are great fun to grow). I must ask him if he really liked them or was just keeping me happy! 

a cactus plant

Any cactus or succulent drives me back decades and straight to the door of Bury Town Hall on a misty Saturday in September and the autumn horticultural show. All these years later I think fondly of those days and still support my local show. I do wish I still had that duffel coat. Paddington Bear was always a favourite.

apples growing on a tree

Whenever I prune the apple trees, I clearly remember climbing down the ladder to take the desperate phone call bringing news of a death in the family. Apples themselves, however, transport me to memories of wonderfully tasty and eye opening apple days at RHS Wisley.


Digging my veg plot? Straight back in time to my first allotment aged thirteen. I can still see an old chap, leaning on the allotment gate, scowling as I sowed carrot seed too thickly. I still do. He'd still scowl. He'd be right. 

In fact, every plant, every last one, reminds me of someone, something, somewhere. And that is surely what a garden should be – personal. Gardens are much more than a collection of pots and plants. As for the hardy flowering cyclamen currently doing their stuff in a shady border right now, today… well, that's another fond memory. 

So, what about your plant memories – anything you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below…

SHOP our range of plants here and see if you can find your most treasured memories in plant form.