don’t dig there, that’s where the cat is buried

I find it fascinating and heartening how frequently people hold garden plants dear to friends / family / dear departed pets. I really like the fact that in our busy lives, folk still manage to make a ‘soul space’ for their special plants and are fondly reminded of their kin by them. Sometimes the plants are stand out prize winning roses, but more often than not they are cuttings of more rugged handling and treatment that were carefully sown or divided then nurtured by the beloved family/friend who it has come to represent, and was given to the recipient in the spirit of green fingered sharing. I think the most common gift of this kind I have seen so far have been Daylillies, Arum lillies, Roses, Hydrangea macrophylla, phlox, and entire edible and scented planting schemes.

If I were given a choice of what plant I would like to ‘dedicate’ to someone I guess I’d rather pick a champion like Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, or a big swathe of wildflowers surrounded by scented herbs with a tree. Pretty much planning on an area at the top of our back garden to echo this second idea as part of a larger plan at the moment. Trees are also fantastic in memorium. As a family we had an oak tree planted in an Arboretum in memory of my father. I think he would have appreciated an Oak being planted in his memory.
Pear tree in fruit. Planted to celebrate arrival of our daughter.
We also planted a pear tree to mark the arrival of our daughter, and have been keen to mark our relatively new to us back garden with three trees as there was room for them and the landscape was crying out for some permanent vertical growth, that will mature gracefully; a Beech – Fagus sylvatica, A strawberry tree – Arbutus unedo and a Cherry – Prunus, (cant’ remember the cultivar but the fruit are yum).

Many a time I have gone to ‘looksee’ a garden and been warned that certain plants need ‘special attention’ because the owner has been fearful of pruning it / feeding wrongly, when in actual fact, all they needed was a gentle and timely prune, feed and mulch. Take heart if you have a plant you feel this way about yourself, get some advice and get it looked after. Occasionally a thorough weed and pruning session has been punctuated by ‘perhaps we could leave that spot, um, our second cat is buried there’. Not a problem, and eventually the soil is fed. Once there was an accidental living epitaph in the form of a sole bunch of grapes on a huge house hugging vine literally a nose away from a freshly demised fox curled up like a cat. Nature is curious.

What is especially inspiring I heard of more recently – is a village named Piplantri in Rajasthan One Green – Village In India Plants 111 trees plants 111 fruit trees every time a little girl is born! The community nurture the trees and the parents are legally bound to ensure that their daughter has to in receipt of a proper education, and the trees looked after until her legal age of marriage.
Women with saplings West Bengal India. Source – Treehugger
The trees become something that not only mark a persons young life and celebrate that, but serve to remind of the combined promise the parents make, and in fruition serve to support the community themselves in present and future terms. Not only that but there are side products made from the Aloe Vera which they grow to deter the unwanted attentions of termites.
Harvesting Aloe. Source
Genius. It just works on so many levels; economic, soul, community. Piplantri can also be proud. What if people the world over celebrated, and supported all their children in this manner? Just imagine the possibilities. What plants have been left to you in memorium? What would you dedicate to the memory of somebody in the Plantae kingdom? Or do you plan to plant something special to dedicate to someone in life?