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Memories Planted Deep

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Gardens can bring the past directly into the present

Almost daily, we all experience those unscheduled trips down memory lane. Sometimes it’s triggered by hearing an old song on the radio that reminds us of high school dances and younger days. Other memories of special people and times in our lives are often reawakened in our hearts by sifting through old photos. Perhaps memories are launched by particular smells of grandmother’s cookies or the lavender fragrance she wore. Certainly, if we pause to reflect, great memories return from unique places and plants we travel through and live among.

My earliest childhood memories include opening up our second-story bedroom windows in the spring and summer to drink in the fragrance of my mother’s “Landscape.” As a full time teacher with 11 children and a huge vegetable garden to tend to, my mother kept her landscape plantings simple, but fragrant. The north side had a long stand of 10-foot purple lilacs that released its heady scent every spring. Her south side row of Rugosa Roses were prickly and tough enough to keep kids and animals out, but allowed a wonderful aroma in for the summer. I planted my first tree with my Grandfather Art. He lived in town, and took it upon himself to line the narrow right of way along his village sidewalks with dozens of shady maples. Many of those Crimson King, Sugar and Red Maples still stand majestic and beautiful even now, 50 years after his donation to the city. 

Trying to power hike lots of miles in one day with my sister Jeanine was always a bit frustrating when I was young. She preferred to linger and identify ALL the native flora and fauna. On one Fourth of July morning hiking Stony Indian Pass in Glacier, I realized that there really is no one better to be stranded in the forest with than her, as she foraged and produced red, white and blue pancakes from wild huckleberries and strawberries for breakfast. 

Farming was my father’s all consuming life’s work, from sunup till sundown, 365 days a year. He once tried his hand at floral arranging. He spotted some lovely tiny lavender flowers of the wild Creeping Charlie invading our lawn. This plant is pretty much a noxious weed to turf experts; however, before I could mow it down, he stopped me and picked them. He then carefully took them inside the house cupped in his giant rough hands and floated the delicate, purple orchid-like blossoms in a shot glass on the kitchen table. 

This is our first River Journal issue without even the possibility of the creative musings of Boots Reynolds, and there is certainly a hole in our hearts. I had the pleasure of getting to know Boots and Becky through gardening and each year, before he went off to the Cowboy Cartoonist Convention in Las Vegas, Boots made sure he had a bouquet of flowers sent to his sweetie while he was away. This year, Boots selected rose bush plants, knowing and hoping this would be his enduring bouquet to Becky in the years to come. We all miss your ability to make us a smile anytime sweet Boots, and grateful for the memories you planted along the way. 

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Author info

Nancy Hastings Nancy Hastings grew up on a 300+ acre farm and is co-owner of All Seasons Garden and Floral in Sandpoint, She and her husband John have been cultivating community gardens and growing for 15 years in North Idaho. You can reach them with garden questions or sign up for classes atllseasonsgardenandfloral(at)gmail.com.

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gardening, Boots Reynolds, Get Growing

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