As Mother’s Day approaches, I’m thinking of my mother. She was the best gardener I ever knew -- a magician at starting seeds and someone with a real sense of garden design.

She loved a hosta called Royal Standard. It’s big, with clear green leaves. In August, it bears white flowers that smell like lilies. She called it "The Queen of the Hostas" and grew it in both shade and burning sun. It did well in both places as long as it got enough water. When I bought a house I dug divisions from her yard, and now the Royal Standards all over my yard remind me of her.

She also grew forget-me-nots and "Blue Butterfly" delphinium, neither of which will tolerate the heavy river soil I have in my yard. And feverfew, bringing the original plant back from Connecticut. She had charmed the caretaker of the Harriet Beecher Stowe garden into digging a tiny plant for her and held the sagging transplant in her hands on the plane ride home. Descendants of that parent plant grow in dozens of Minnesota gardens now, spread by plant sales and gifts. (Royal Standard and feverfew with tiny white flowers are in the picture on the left.).

When I see a big coleus, I think of my father, who loved the colorful foliage. And when I see clematis I think of my grandmother. She grew enormous clematis in her garden in England. Her great-uncle, H.F. Young, was a plantsman in England and a purple clematis bears his name. I saw it in a Minneapolis nursery this weekend.

Years ago I bought "H.F. Young" for my mother, but that was one plant that even she could not keep thriving in hot Minnesota summers. She finally dug it out and tossed it.

My yard was on a neighborhood garden tour a few years ago. When I talked about Royal Standard, a woman I didn’t know said she had one of the cultivar’s parent plants growing in her yard. A day later, a hosta with fat green leaves showed up at my back door.

I have no idea who she was and never got a chance to thank her, but I think of her whenever I see that wonderful plant.

Your turn! What plants remind you of certain people? Do you grow a plant just for the personal association it has for you?