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Planting from the Heart

Cultivating plants that hold a personal or emotional significance to you

Orange Sulphur Cosmos in the summer garden
Orange Cosmos (Sulphur Cosmos) has an emotional connection to me

Ever buy a plant or flower simply for memories sake or an emotional connection? Most people buy flowers & plants because of the color or scent, but for others, there is a deeper reason.

Maybe your grandmother had hollyhocks in her garden, or peonies were part of your wedding flowers, or the yellow roses started to bloom as you began to recover from illness. Whatever the reason, seeing them in your garden makes your heart sing a little and brings back the memory.

One of those for me is the orange Cosmos, aka Sulphur Orange Cosmos (photo). Growing up on Long Island, my parent’s garden was filled with these bright beauties. I loved how they moved in the breeze, added a bright spot of color and the seed heads looked like little fireworks. I have fond memories of picking the flowers and putting them in a vase for the dinner table. And in the fall, I would carefully pick off the seeds and place them into an empty spice jar. We’d collect thousands of seeds every year! I don't even know if they were planted. For me, the fun part was the collecting.

Wild and informal garden of orange sulphur cosmos
Wild and informal garden of orange sulphur cosmos

Both my parents were into gardening, but it was my dad who did the bulk of it. He'd constantly be outside moving things around, dividing perennials, planting new plants and weeding. My mom certainly enjoyed the garden's beauty and tranquility. She was the one who encouraged me to pick the flowers "for the dinner table" and we'd often walk around the yard just to admire what was blooming. I think about my dad when I see these orange Cosmos. We had them everywhere and although they had a wildflower look and seemed to take over a big part of the front garden, he loved these cheery blooms. Now in my garden, they bring me so much joy! I'm brought back to when I was a child, and can't help but pick a few blooms or collect some seeds.

Do you have a flower or plant like this that tugs at your heartstrings and triggers a memory? I bet you do.


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