I have only one hollyhock this year but it makes me very happy. I always wanted a row of them--against, perhaps a white picket fence but that's not happening. Neither are the masses of delphiniums I once coveted and tried to grow but failed. I walk around and see the ghosts of those garden dreams.
Many years ago I had a bed of fancy roses--but the spraying that seemed necessary to keep them alive and blooming was too much. I do have this fine little red rose--a gift from a neighbor back in '76. She rooted it from her own shrub--put a cutting in the ground and covered it with a Ball quart jar. Forty-five years later, it's still going strong.
Another survivor that makes me happy is this perennial Bachelor's Button. Therese in France featured one on her blog maybe ten years ago and I was enraptured with the gorgeous cobalt blue and lavender bloom. I acquired a plant soon after and every year at this time, it makes me think of my blog friend in Toulouse.
Everywhere I look, there are ghosts and memories--the tidy Japanese influenced plantings around the goldfish pool that have renounced their dwarf evergreen status and are striving for wilderness designation, the Angel Wing Begonias my grandmother gave me when we moved from Tampa, the lilac that was a gift from a departed friend, the orchid cacti from a tenant about twenty years ago, the Weeping Willow and the River Birch that were skinny sticks when I planted them . . .
You can grow a lot of memories in almost half a century.