‘Plants and Memory’? What kind of topic is that, I hear you wondering? Ah, but it’s a good one—just you wait.
At some point in the GDRT, you’ve probably heard us discuss the concept of terroir, which Wikipedia defines as “the special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with the plant’s genetics, expressed in agricultural products such as wine, coffee, chocolate, tomatoes, heritage wheat and tea.”
I’ve always thought terroir extends to places themselves, and people. All the tiny details that make up a place—many imperceptible, many taken for granted—those details are what make a place what it is, and through the meaningful places in our lives, they’re part of what make us who we are.
Plants, for a lot of people, get lost in those details. Maybe that’s why you find yourself so sentimental over those lilacs and peonies that grew where you grew up, even though you hadn’t really thought about it for years and now you live in Florida. Personally, I find people’s sentimental connection to plants so fascinating, I went so far as to write a book about that connection, and how to choose plants that scratch that same sentimental itch that work where you live. It’s called Why Grow That When You Can Grow This?: 255 Extraordinary Alternatives to Everyday Problem Plants. See what else I and my comrades have to say about “Plants and Memory” today’s Garden Designers Roundtable: