Have you ever experienced the time travel that a childhood memory can evoke? Memory is triggered by sights, smells, tastes and tactile experience. Those primal sensory elements can directly shape how you act or experience the present. Most attach heart memory with food. But you know, landscape can pack some punch. These three beauties are all familiar. Each one holds a place somewhere in our lives, whether you recognize it or not.
Here’s what you need to know about each if you would like to build your own memories.
LAVANDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA: For centuries lavender has been grown for its medicinal and herbal prowess. Today lavender remains a powerful presence in this aspect. Although, growing it isn’t for the faint of heart. Lavender is tricky but if you have the knack, it will thrive. An excellent addition to most gardens whether it be as a low hedge, planting along walkways, or as a specimen in a mixed perennial setting. Don’t be fooled, this little one is a woody shrub and today can be found in many different cultivars. It is slow growing, and prefers well drained, neutral to alkaline soil, full sun and patience. Dry the flowers and seeds for fragrance that will last long into the winter months. To explore the many uses of this perrenial make a trip to the lavender farm in Seafoam this summer.
SYRINGA VULGARIS: This medium- to large-sized shrub has been a staple in most urban and rural residential landscapes for decades. The fragrance of the pinnacle shaped flower is often what transports one back to their grandmother’s house. Despite the host of susceptible diseases this shrub may fall prey to, it continues on without much care. Lilacs are best in a boarder planting or “in the back” of a grouping. They tend to get leggy and sucker. Form is not their forte. Today there are dozens and dozens of different cultivars that give a spin on Grammas old purple lilac. Fragrance, intensity, colour and size genetics have all been tinkered with giving you plenty of choice to start your own tradition.
LUPINUS: Nova Scotia’s unofficial flower is most often seen along the roadside in mass groupings that give unparalleled punches of colour. Spikey tall flowers of pink, purple, white with deep green leaves bring memories of summer vacations and looong car rides. Growing them at home can be a cautionary tale. If you have the right conditions this hardy perennial can take off and spread like wild fire. Lupin seeds have been carbon dated back 10,000 years, thriving in an alkaline soil. Clearly, this hardy perennial is here for the long haul. If starting lupins inside, try rubbing them with a little bit of sandpaper to scarify the hard coat that protects it. The seed will not germinate until moisture can penetrate the coat. If sowing directly outside, wait as late as possible in the fall to allow the frost to do the same thing. They do not transplant well and are best from seed. No wonder it’s been able to survive frozen soil for millennia. The power of this tiny seed is incredible.