Posies of Memories

Endless rain and grey skies had me scurrying outside a few days ago during a rare lull in the storms to see if I even had a garden left or if it had all washed away! As it turned out I discovered far more than just flowers. Not only were the hellebores in full bloom (as expected), but lungwort (Pulmonaria saccharata) was also flowering in the woodland – that will make the hummingbirds happy for sure! I was also delighted to notice the first buttercup-yellow winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) blooms emerging together with some early windflower (Anemone blanda), deer-resistant bulbs I planted by the hundred in the fall of 2018.

English primroses are a soft buttery yellow and grow in lovely mounding hummocks. Mercifully they seem to be ignored by both deer and rabbits.

What really stopped me in my tracks though were my primroses, the traditional English woodland primrose (Primula vulgaris). Certainly the petals were waterlogged and baby slugs had been chomping a few of the flowers into lace, but as I knelt down to get closer to these old fashioned perennials I was flooded with memories. Suddenly I was a child again, gathering these beauties in the woods not far from where I grew up (it was acceptable back then – I would never dream of doing this today!) I recalled the hosta-sized clumps that Mum grew in her garden and the generous divisions she shared with neighbors, friends, and the many passers-by who stopped to chat as she worked outside.

My daughter Katie discovering primroses aged approx 8 months

Our daughter Katie was still a babe in arms when I introduced her to primroses, and as she got older she was tasked with carefully cutting tiny posies for the table, often displayed in petite glass salt shakers or diminutive vases found in thrift stores. When we moved to the United States in 1996 I grew these understated wildflowers from seed so as to still be able to enjoy them each spring, preferring them to the psychedelic primroses that were apparently favored by American stores and nurseries.

A posie of memories

I picked a few blooms and brought them inside to look for a suitable vase, eventually settling on this pretty cobalt blue jug that Mum used to display in her "special" cabinet. The "crackle glass" is so pretty and like Mum, blue is my favorite color. She would have approved.

Love this photo of my Mum peering through her neighbors flowering Amelanchier. Sums her up perfectly! Photo credit: Sylvia Ann Ramsay

As I tucked the short stems into the vase I confess to shedding a tear or two as I remembered Mum. Its hard to believe she has been gone for over four years now.  I'm so thankful not only for all the love that she showered on me every single day, but also for her legacy of teaching me to appreciate the little things. To look for the good. And to pass that on to others – including you. Do you have a special "legacy flower"? Tell me about it. Big group hug x

Subscribe to Receive Blog Posts

Gardening inspiration delivered right to your inbox from Le Jardinet


Fall Favorite – The Katsura Tree

I must have raised a few eyebrows as I went around the nursery sniffing like a bloodhound. I just couldn't figure it out. I knew I could smell cotton candy (UK translation – candy floss) but there were none to be seen, yet that sweet sugar and cinnamon fragrance was wafting all around me. In confusion I…
Read More

Similar but Different – the art of observation.

Sometimes we need to be thrown a challenge to discover something new. This week I received sample of several trees, shrubs and perennials to try in my fall container designs. They were sent to me by Qualitree, a grower in British Columbia after they read my recent article on Great Conifers for Fall Containers. When…
Read More

Great Bulbs for Fall Containers

It's a bittersweet moment when you have to brace yourself to pull out all that lush summer growth, knowing that the replacements will inevitably look puny by comparison. I've just grappled with yards of overly – exuberant sweet potato vine, cutting back its long chartreuse tendrils of heart shaped leaves, digging deep in the containers…
Read More

Great Conifers for Fall Containers

Are your coleus collapsing and your petunias in a funk? Then it's time to rethink those container gardens and freshen them up for fall. The question I am asked most frequently is "What can I add for fall and winter that will be evergreen?" Well I could write a book answering that question – so…
Read More

Gaura – a whirl of tiny butterflies

Movement is important in a garden. It lends an informal atmosphere and softens otherwise stiff plantings. Grasses are often used for this, especially taller varieties but a few perennials are also perfectly suited for the job and one of the best is whirling butterflies (Gaura lindheimeri). The common name is a perfect description for these…
Read More

The Subtle Beauty of Vine Maples

We have a very special tree – The Hobbit Tree. Deep in the forest at the edge of our property there is an old gnarly vine maple (Acer circinatum), defying gravity and dripping with moss. It was all but buried under blackberries and reed canary grass and surrounded  by alders and several Douglas fir trees.…
Read More

12 Months Later

Is it really only that long? I suspect like many gardeners I'm better at writing a To Do list than celebrating the Ta Da moments. I'm so busy worrying about the deer munching on the end of an elderberry branch (and yes they do eat elderberries), that I forget to look around and take in…
Read More


There's something about being at the ocean. Stress seems to get swept away on the sea breeze, and time moves at a slower pace allowing us to savor that novel we've been meaning to read. Suddenly 'sitting' seems like an activity rather than a luxury and nothing seems quite as important as it did before.…
Read More

My Top 5 Survivors

  When I test plants I really test them! No primadonnas for me thank you very much; they have to perform well under 'average' conditions without excessive primping. You see I plant hundreds of containers every season for my clients and myself. Everything I use has to perform 100% – there's no room for slackers.…
Read More

The Big Reveal – Fine Foliage

Think of your screen as the catwalk and prepare to be wowed as I reveal………………..FINE FOLIAGE!   This stunning number can be enjoyed year round and offers ensembles from  that 'little black dress' to the all-out party wear. It doesn't matter what size you need. We cover everything from the itsy-bitsy two piece to expansive…
Read More

Welcome to My Garden Adventures


I'm a serious plant-aholic. In other words I'm usually covered in a layer or two of soil, I drive everywhere with a large tarp for impromptu plant purchases and I'm truly passionate about sharing the joys of gardening.

Buy My Books Here!



Container Gardening Course

Enter KCHAPMAN20 to get 20% off

Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

Use the help of top home decorators to select matching bedside tables and a new lamp shade for your own bedroom design.
Collect and share photos of bathroom tile, bathroom vanities, shower curtains and bathroom mirrors to create your perfect home decorating style.

TV Interview