Memory and Friendship Gardens By Harry Higgott Thomas

How small a thing will conjure up dreams—the fragrance of a rose, the purple mist of a group of Starworts, the shimmer of Golden Rod in the autumn sunshine!

There is something very fascinating even about the thoughts of a garden full of plants grown for the sake of the associations their presence conjures up, whether they be memories of days of youth, when hope ran high and was undismayed; of-home days fragrant with Lavender and scented linen and redolent of the tender touch of loving hands; of holidays that stir the muse of pleasant recollection; or of friends, now widely scattered, that once in common bond foregathered. Such a garden may come even to possess a hallowed significance for its planter, giving life to sacred thoughts, which, softened by the lapse of time, fill the mind with " sweetest melancholy."

I am not sure that memory gardens are calculated to give pleasure to those who are fast growing old; for then, are memories always sweet? May not they rise, unwelcome spectres of a happy past, holding up the bright lamp of youth to the flickering candle of old age? Was I right, I wonder when I wrote:

"Oh! Memory mocks in phantom dreams
Of youth long sped;
As though 'twere yesterday it seems—
Yet years are dead.

'Oh! Memory conjures dulcet thought
Of happier hours;
The thorns to bring to life she sought
Among the flowers.

"Dim not these aged eyes with tears;
My destiny
Is shaped; lift not the veil of years,
Oh! Memory !"

But we may all have gardens of friendship. Those of us who have pleasant moments to look back upon may care, in the fragrance of flowers or the sweet scent of leaves, or in gay and lovely blossom, to revive them in happy dreams, and live again, if only in precious moments, days that seem, through the veil of rose with which Time has cloaked them, to have been our very Never Never Land of Romance.

How small a thing will conjure up dreams—a sprig of Lavender, the fragrance of a rose, the purple mist of a group of Starworts, the shimmer of Golden Rod in the autumn sunshine, a leaf of Old Man or Southernwood, or sweet-scented Verbena! In one finite moment one's thoughts span a seeming infinity of time, and dreams of other days enrapture us. We have all at some time or another begged a sprig of this or a spray of that from the garden of some dear friend or of some one with whom acquaintance has ripened into friendship; and how satisfying to think of the friends made through the common love of flowers! How delightful to contemplate the bond thus wrought with leaf and blossom in friendship's name!

We have all of us memories of holidays spent in far corners of our own and other lands, and, in quiet moments, to live them again in sweet imagining, in the flower slips we gathered and coaxed into rooted plants, is one of the many delights of the garden of friendship and memory. Such a garden must grow slowly, for, like friends whose friendship counts, it shall entwine the more closely about our hearts as each flower season passes. Though old friends pass and new ones find us, the flowers they gave us linger on, and always, to the end, are with us. When old age claims them, we give them fresh life, and to the young will still cling the fragrance of the old ones that gave them birth.

All the plants that are cherished for association's sake should be gathered together, though they will never make any semblance of a show garden. For this reason it is best to shelter them in a little plot enclosed, and, that the boundaries may be in keeping, let the hedges be of Lavender and China Roses. In time the garden of memory and friendship will contain a most interesting collection of plants and flowers, and though the arrangement may count for nothing in the eye of an expert, seeing charm only in a border that is planned to an exact colour scheme, the owner, to whom alone this little garden matters, will read, as it were, between the lines and weave, with apparently quite prosaic material, love dreams and friendship lore of days of long ago.

In shady corners there may be wild Ferns from the West Country and from Wales; in the sunshine the Alpen Rose and Edelweiss from the Alpine heights of the Bernese Oberland, miniature Daffodils from Spain, the exquisite Gentian from the Westmorland dales and the incomparable Gentianella from the Alps and Pyrenees; scarlet Anemones from Riviera woods; the rosy spires of Loosestrife from the upper reaches of the Thames, and countless others from gardens, great and small, all gathered in happy, careless days, when all was well with the world, or given with graciousness and open heart by strangers with whom one had nothing in common but simple love for lowly flowers.