If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.Michael Crichton
A friend came to visit yesterday, to drop some supplies off for me. In return I gave her some geranium cuttings from my garden.
I also gave her the provenance of those plants.
Provenance is something you usually associate with art, or antiques. But, for me, it’s also a big part of my garden.
The first geranium is a bright cheerful red specimen, that came to me from my husband’s mum. The plant originally grew on their farm in North Queensland, one hundred years ago. When my mother-in-law, her sister and her mum left the farm to come down to Brisbane to work, they took cuttings and from there my mother-in-law grew this geranium at every house she ever lived in. She told me that story, and gave me my own cuttings two years before she died. Whenever I look at it now it reminds me of her childhood on the farm, and it forever links her to my own home.
The second geranium has rosy pink double blooms and pretty multi-coloured leaves. It came from my maternal grandmother’s house. She gave me a cutting for a house I lived in while I was at University, and I maintained pots of it for several years before I married and moved away. Years later, when I visited one day she gave me more cuttings, from the plant that was still growing at the side of her house. As she aged, and then my grandfather passed away, her once magnificent garden struggled to survive as it was crippled by drought and neglect. But this geranium somehow survived, and managed to thrive, even under adverse conditions. It flowers all year round, and it reminds me that I too am resilient and that this resilience runs through my family line.
My friend already has cuttings from my farm of a coral-coloured geranium, a rose scented geranium, and some rosemary that came from my paternal grandmother.
It meant something to me, to be able to pass these new cuttings to my friend yesterday. She will have a little of my story and family history in her garden now, and perhaps she will be reminded of me when she looks at these plants in years to come.
So many of the plants in my garden link me to friends, family and places. I love that about gardening. As I water my plants, or cut flowers for the house, I feel the love of generations all around me. I am reminded of friends and family, much loved, who are no longer with us but whose plants continue to hold space for them in my daily life.
When you start to look, there are so many ways that love can remain as a physical presence in our lives, even though our loved ones may be far away, or perhaps have even crossed over.
I am surrounded by love, and I feel deeply blessed.
Sending gentle hugs your way, Nicole xx