I am obsessed with helping clients create memories when they are going through a major downsizing process. Often we take photos of items that are being gifted or donated to charities. We scan old negatives and photos to share among family members, or to use in a digital photo frame in the new residence. Some keepsakes trigger such evocative, happy memories that these are ‘no-brainers’ to keep and display. So often the saddest of all farewells is usually in the garden. Sigh, how do you let go of living plants? I decided: not without a fight! If you think you can’t take it with you, then here’s a great solution…
A tropical Frangipani (Plumeria) is not the easiest tree to grow in England. But I did try. My earliest memories of family life in Sydney was cooling off sitting in the birdbath under our frangipani tree. It was used for every family photo backdrop no matter whether in bloom or not. Its hardy sweet flowers decorated our dinner table every night giving fidgeting children something to twirl while we waited for dessert… It stood centrepiece for over 50 years, the sweet scented talisman for our family home.
What to Keep?
When the family home in Sydney was sold following my mother’s death in 2008, there was a bit of a rush for the most precious keepsake – no one wanted the heirloom mahogany sideboard but everyone took a cutting of the Frangipani tree!
Alas, due to a certain lack of tropical climate here in London and a complete lack of horticultural knowledge, my cutting did not flourish. It did not die overnight, but it slowly rotted from the fledgling roots up over a couple of years, giving me time to grieve a little less.
My brother, Michael (suave one above), arrived in London with a new cutting he had been secretly growing for me and we delighted in giving this one a chance. But to no avail. Happily, other cuttings flourished in my siblings’ and niece Emily’s gardens and we keep a running commentary about them over the years. It is a wonderful living memory of family life at “Number 5” and even favourite pets ashes are lovingly scattered over new roots.
Bud Grafting Service to the rescue
If you are not as green-fingered as the rest of my family, Keepers Nursery in Kent offer a bud grafting service here in the UK and June is the time to contact them to make arrangements.
My client took cuttings from her childhood’s Greengage tree when the family home was sold after her parents passed away. Keeper’s Nursery propagated and nurtured the strongest for 18 months in a way she could not have found the energy for in such difficult times. The healthy sapling (seen here) has been delivered to her new home and planted with love last month. This has brought so much joy!
I am not sure anyone could have helped my efforts with keeping a tropical cutting alive in a temperate climate, but here in the UK if there is a much loved plant that could be shared among many, then this bud grafting service is a wonderful idea from Keeper’s Nursery. For the cost of a small tree, it may as well be your mum’s!
What are your #TreasuredTreasures and what makes them special and important to you? We’d love you to share them with us. See https://www.facebook.com/right.size/ or @RightsizeHQ on Twitter.