By Sharleen Pratt, Master Gardener
My Mom passed away last October at the age of 97 during a difficult period of the pandemic. A dear friend gifted me a miniature rose plant that is a beautiful coral pink. My parents were from Ireland and they always grew roses in their garden. I adore the flowers but have never been a huge fan because of the many common diseases they get such as powdery mildew, rust and block spot. Also, it seems that every time I am near a bush, the thorns love to grab me and wreak havoc on my skin!
However, this rose was special and I managed to keep it alive during the winter months and after all signs of frost, I planted it in my front garden, tucked amongst other annuals such as the Impatiens walleriana ‘Variegata’, common name Variegated Impatiens. This plant belonged to Norma Evans, a well-known founding member of the Peterborough Master Gardeners as well as a member of both the Peterborough and Omemee Horticultural Societies. She passed away in 2017 at the age of 90. Through cuttings, this gorgeous plant that is a perennial in warmer climates, has been passed amongst many friends and family.
I was gob smacked by how well that little rose and that one small cutting of the variegated impatiens performed in my garden this summer. The rose was blooming well into November. The impatiens succumbed to the frost on November 4th, however, it was as large as a small bush. It also had lovely deep pink flowers all summer long.
I have two cuttings of the impatiens growing in my kitchen window so that this plant can continue to be grown year after year. As for the rose, I have heaped it with lots of leaves and soil in the hopes that it survives our Peterborough winter.
My Mom and Norma would be smiling and I believe they both have had an invisible hand in the success of these plants. I know they have brought me peace and happiness. Memories are what we hold on to, and what better way to honour a person’s life than through the growth of a plant!
Happy holidays! I hope you have all been able to safely celebrate Christmas with a few loved ones. Wishing you all the best in 2022.