Monday, November 29, 2010

My Favourite Plant

Fer from My Little Garden in Japan suggested a blog carnival this month.  The topic, it was decided, would be our favourite plant.

How exciting, sharing a plant that others might not know, that I love.  But what would that plant be?  How can I possibly pick a favourite!  There are so many plants and they all have so many uses and their particular place within my garden and my heart.  Would it be a spring flower, heralding the new gardening year to come?  or the brilliant blooms of summer basking in the heat?  The trees providing shelter or the shrubs that provide the backdrop to the glowing colours of perennials?  I took a look through some old photos for ideas and it turned out to be a trip down memory lane, looking at flowers of bygone gardens, it made me happy and sad and reminded me of how my gardening experience has grown over the past years.

My favourite plant it turns out is not something that is new and unknown, not exotic or sought after but something more personal.  It is the simple and rather common Forget-Me-Not, or Myosotis alpestris.


Many people aren't terrible fond of this little flower or simply don't find it all that interesting.  It can be found just about anywhere, will grow anywhere, self seeds readily and frequently all over the place.  In fact, if you grow it you might find that it invades your garden in every nook and cranny.

For an experienced gardener this plant may not seem exciting but for a beginner, there is no greater flower.  When I began to garden for myself, not so many years ago, I was looking for plants that liked shade and were easy to cultivate.  I wanted to start my own seeds and after searching catalogues these delightful blue flowers fit the bill.  The seeds cost very little and they germinated with almost no work.  Despite the fact that I planted them too thickly and didn't thin them, and that I lacked proper lighting, these little seeds thrived and introduced me to the wonder of growing a plant from seed.  Taking a tiny speck and watching it become a plant with leaves and flowers.  These little flowers gave me the courage to try other seeds and when the others didn't work I still took heart that I was able to grow something.  When they were transferred to the great outdoors I worried over them but it wasn't necessary.  Just a scrap of dirt and a small amount of light and these plants expanded considerably.  No flowers that first year but I was awarded by masses of blooms the following year.  Blue blue blue, how could you not love that bright bright blue.


Not only did these plants flower with abandon they also tossed their seeds around on the wind.  And the next year I was rewarded with the soft fuzzy leaves of forget-me-nots popping up in corners that I wouldn't have otherwise thought would support them.  Throughout my years of shade gardening the forget-me-nots were always there, carpeting the ground with their soft leaves, sprinkling the ground with blue.  A constant delight each spring providing a background to the late blooming bulbs and paving the way for other summer plants to take hold.


Can you see the forget-me-nots in the above photo providing a backdrop to these lovely pink Woodland Hyacinth (Hyacinthoides hispanica)?

The flowers of forget-me-nots are tiny, almost insignificant but massed their colour is eye catching and their ease of growth helped pave the way for me to spread my wings and become comfortable in my gardening abilities.  This past summer while my mother visited she cleaned out an old planter in front of the house.  Once the weeds were pulled we mulled over what to put inside.  Mom asked if I had any seeds and sure enough, there was a packet of forget-me-nots.  Within weeks the little seeds had pushed through the ground and formed plants.  I look forward this year to spring when I'll continue to have my little blue flowers to remind me of past gardens and all that I've learned and will continue to learn in my garden.


Thank you to fer for suggesting this post and taking me down memory lane :)


30 comments:

  1. I can't imagine my garden in spring without forget-me-nots. They are so bright and cheerful.

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  2. I too love forget-me-nots. You woodland hyacinth is so delicate and pretty.

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  3. Thank you very much for the lovely entry and the nice story!

    Is so great you have such a warm place in your hear for this beautiful flower. It is very good to just remind how we have grown as gardeners and see back to all what we have learn. And also to have a nice and beautiful plant that has come with us through our journey.

    Thank you very much for joining the carnival! Loved this entry

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  4. Each individual flower of the forget-me-not is really lovely when you get clsoe up to them - more colours there than you initially realise.

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  5. The centers of the forget-me-nots are so bright too - I think the shade of blue is glorious! And they spread so easily and basically take care of themselves - I like that in a plant:)

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  6. I could never find fault for picking this little gem : )
    I have a few too and always add more each Spring .. they are gorgeous and what would a shade garden be without a few of them ? the flowers are repeated in my brunnera on the other side of my garden ..they mimic each other on two totally different plants and that is very interesting for me.
    Joy

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  7. I love these little blue gems. I planted several clumps last spring under a new redbud tree. They were in a little to much sun, and it was an awfully hot dry summer, but they held on and even spread a little. Can't wait to see them under better conditions this spring.

    I love the fact that you did not forget your forget me nots!

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  8. Wonderful choice! So often these "easy", "common" plants get overlooked, but they are real workhorses in the garden. I've sown some myself this Autumn, and am hoping for a lovely splash of blue underneath my silver birches. Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting, always good to meet a new blogger "out there"!

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  9. Hello again !
    I had no idea you were in PEI !
    I must have missed reading that.. today is a DUH ? day for me ;-)
    My husband and I and even our son are Blue Nose people .. all from the east coast. Your little spot of PEI sounds like heaven : ) .. a bit of a change from the west coast I know .. we lived on Vancouver Island for a while too .. I added you to my blog roll if you don't mind .. I try to collect as many Canadian gardeners as possible : )
    Joy

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  10. it's such a cutie-pie plant. I was so lucky to see it blanket Great Dixter this past spring...I plant it every year to see if it will get established! gail

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  11. I love to hear how one simple seed can change the perspective and heart of a person into a gardener! Beautifully said and I'm wondering if it will grow here in Austin. I've got lots of shady spots for an easy lovin flower!

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  12. Hi,Marguerite.
    Thank you for visiting my blog and I'm happy to share my favorite flowers with you. You live in th Price Edwards island? I used to read "Anne of Green Gables" when I was kid so I wish I can visit the island!

    The photos of your favorite flowers are so beautiful and they remind me of the idea that things inspiring people don't always need to be special, I believe.

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  13. They are delightful flowers and although they seed freely they are easily pulled up if they are in the wrong place. The name is very evocative too!

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  14. I think they are so sweet. Another one that is on my list to try. I wonder if I can sow them directly into the ground?

    Great choice!

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  15. I love forget me nots too. A friend gave me some seedlings years ago. They have followed me to two new gardens. Every spring when they flower I think of that friend.

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  16. I love forget me nots as well.. they grew along the streams in the hills and woods of Vermont where I grew up, and occupy a sentimental place in my memories from a time 50 years in the past... L

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  17. I'm so glad you featured forget-me-nots as your post! I haven't grown them in a long time and now I'm planning to get a seed packet for this year. I used to love them -- you're right, the blue is incomparable.

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  18. That is a wonderful plant, and perfectly exotic to me.

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  19. I enjoyed your post and it is funny how plants can bring back many memories of people and places. I love forget-me-nots and I wish they loved the hot, sun of my garden.

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  20. Goodness it's been a busy day! I would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone who dropped by and read today's post. It's always nice to see familiar faces and a few new ones too!

    Jennifer - I agree! I'm so glad I found that packet of seed and planted them. And I look forward to their seeds spreading in my new garden.

    GardenWalk - It's funny, I was scanning for photos and the blue behind the hyacinths just caught my eye. I don't know if I realized when I took the picture the background I was getting. But I love how the pink bells look against the blue.

    fer - again, thank you for holding this carnival. Many people met new friends today and shared some wonderful plants.

    Greenlane and Jane - the centers of the plant are so delicate it seems impossible for such a tiny flower to have so much detail. and surprising to find they are yellow!

    Laurrie - they do seem to need a bit of shade but they are survivors. Once your redbud gets a little larger they will make the perfect picture.

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  21. Plantaliscious - I can imagine how these would look under your birches, divine. There is a house nearby that has their driveway lined by mature trees and in the spring, pools of blue forget-me-nots. It's out of the way but I like to drive there just to see it.

    CanadianGarden - It's always nice to meet a fellow Canadian, I don't mind at all. and funny to hear about more people switching coasts. There seems to be quite a number of us!

    Gail - it is very sweet and I love the effect of it in drifts. That must have been quite a sight!

    Whimsical Gardener - I'm amazed that some people don't know about these flowers. But then that was the reason for the carnival wasn't it? spread our horizons a bit. Forget-me-nots will grow from USDA zones 3 - 8, does that include Austin?

    takaeko - I recently moved to PEI and on our first visit here went to see Green Gables. This is a wonderful place to live and I hope many more warm memories will be created here.

    easygardener - they certainly do like to self seed as I found out! but as you can, they are easily pulled so no harm is done

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  22. Ms.S - Yes you can definitely plant them straight in the ground. When I first bought them I wasn't aware of that (and was probably too excited to wait until spring!) They are good from zone 3 - 9 (CA) so I think you shouldn't have any trouble.

    Melanie - Aren't seeds wonderful? so easy to pack and take with you, and you'll always remember where (and who) they came from.

    LC - I'm so glad these flowers brought some nice memories to you as well.

    Eliza - welcome! I think a packet of forget-me-nots is somewhat mandatory in my collection.

    Floridagirl - you make me laugh! How often I forget that despite the fact that you're there at my fingertips on the keyboard, you are, in fact, not right THERE beside me just down the road.

    Amy - It seems for many flowers have strong associations. It's no wonder the Alzheimer's Society uses the forget-me-not as their symbol.

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  23. Hi, Thank you for visiting my blog so I can follow you back to your wonderful blog. Thank you for introducing me to Forget-Me-Not. I have not try to grow it before. Since it also bloom in shade I will like to try growing them next spring.

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  24. Forget-Me-Not's have always been a favorite of my since i was a little kid!

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  25. Ive always loved forget-ne-nots but only on greeting cards I used to collect when I was a teenager. Your post showed me how really cute and lovely they are with their bright blue colour popping everywhere in your garden!

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  26. We have plenty of frget me nots in our garden, too many! They are pretty and I love the true blue colour.

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  27. I love forget-me-not and I do not have them at my current house. Thanks for reminding me.

    I have a special place for the sweet pea, another small little flower, not elegant but I love it.

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  28. I love also flowerbeds with relaxing blue splotches popping or following some design. Thanks for the story - my mind wondering to next spring season

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  29. Malay - It's exciting to think I've introduced something new to people. Somehow I thought forget-me-nots were a bit overused and slightly boring!

    Stone Art and p3chandan - I remember a time when the Alzheimer Society always sent out packets of forget-me-nots. Perhaps my love affair started then.

    Patty - That is the one downfall of this plant, they do like to spread! But usually they end up filling in empty spaces so I don't mind too much.

    LifesHighway - Sweet peas are lovely. I've actually never grown them though as I have trouble finding a spot for them to climb.

    Scented Leaf - It's lovely to read about a new plant isn't it? I always see numerous plants on other blogs that tempt me so. I have a list of things I'd love to plant.

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  30. The TickleMe Plant will close its fern like leaves and lower its branches when Tickled! It is a wow experience to grow and Tickle One.
    http://www.ticklemeplant.com

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