As some of you know, I spend a few days a week at Joy Creek – arguably one of our most interesting local nurseries. It was started 26 years ago by Mike and Maurice. After years of looking, they realized that if they ever were to find the kind of nursery they loved, they would have to create it themselves. And create it, they did. Around the house where Mike lives, a test garden began to take shape. This is where all the plants they grew were grown and tested, to make sure they could withstand our climate and the various conditions that come with it. Each year, more were added. Now, decades later, a favorite pastime is walking along the gravel paths, guided by either Mike or Maurice. You see, so many of the plants have a story.
Maurice has spent a lot of time in Japan – both as a young boy, growing up, and later in life cultivating his plant obsessions – Clematis and Hydrangeas, to name just a couple. One of his mentors was a Mr. Kazushige Ozawa, a Japanese Clematis hybridizer who bestowed many unique and beautiful varieties upon the world. You can read more about their friendship here.
When Mr. Ozawa died in 2003, his nephew sent Maurice a memento that lives on in the Joy Creek gardens to this day – seeds to an Arisaema Mr. Ozawa had collected in the wild. It was part of his own Arisaema collection in his garden in Japan. The seeds were planted in a woodland-type setting, near the path, where anyone passing by can admire its strange, otherworldly forms. For the past few weeks, I have watched this marvel develop. Below are a few photos documenting its awakening.
You can read more about this particular plant here. Plants can be like songs – seeing it (or, in the case of a song – hearing it) triggers a memory of times, a moment or a person long gone. Do you have a plant in your garden, connected with a treasured remembrance?