Plant a Childhood Memory

August 4, 2012 by



Why not "grow" a childhood memory?

I like to think everyone has a strong childhood memory of at least one or two specific plants. Do you?

For myself, I have two. One is dianthus because that was the first plant my grandmother taught me to transplant and grow.

The other...well, the other was one my folks didn't know much about. It sounded exotic because the flowers were supposed to open each day at 4:00. How cool is that for a child? Therefore, I bought an entire envelope of Mirabilis jalapa with my allowance to grow along the back fence. What a riotous back fence it became! (And to be truthful, every spring it was bright and boisterous as these plants are difficult to eradicate. However, my parents forgave me each year when the hummingbirds arrived!)

Mirabilis jalapa

Mirabilis jalapa (courtesy of Wikipedia) "4:00 Plant"

It's a great "first seedling plant." The seeds are large enough for a child to poke into the ground. They germinate quickly (7 to 14 days) so a child doesn't forget about them. They grow bushier if pinched back, giving the child something to do while watering. Soon, brightly colored flowers (white, red, orange, magenta and combinations) cover the three-foot tall plants until frost causes the plant to die back.

At this point, it's easy for a child to harvest the large black seeds, dry them (perhaps share with friends?) and wait until the following spring to start over again.

Ah, if only all childhood memories were so easy to relive...


  1. crafty_cristy

    I hope to create some garden memories with my children.

    • Jacqui

      I know what you mean...I have a 16 month old granddaughter. Just wait till next spring...I can NOT wait.

  2. andrea w

    Great ideas here. I will have to plant something with Hayden!

    • Jacqui

      GREAT! Gardeners start with parents and grandparents...Perhaps really long green beans
      next year in a teepee of limbs. He can play and munch!

  3. Laila

    My grandfather thought me a lot about gardening without me realizing it. As a child I wasn't very much interested in gardening but now that I am the memories of smelling the sweet pea he grew in the back yard or the home grown dahlia's he always brought my mum are they one's that have come back to me.

    • Jacqui

      I love sweet peas, too. I hope you either grow them and dahlias now...or plan to in the future. Scents are very comforting.

  4. Jean

    What a great post! I love to be reminded of the simplest reasons we garden and the days we our love for plants began.

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