Monday, May 30, 2011

A Memorial Garden

Usually on Memorial Day I thank as many of the vets in my life as I can remember for their service, and today I am no less thankful than other years.

I am spreading my thoughts farther afield this year to our parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends, spouses, and - God forbid - our children who have died, leaving holes in our lives. I've always seen life as a sort of tapestry that we weave day by day - adding and subtracting as our lives change. The people and events are woven in, but change over time, as our tapestry brings warmth to the walls of our castle. Simplistic, perhaps, but it works for me. [Or did I mix up the story of Homer's wife somehow - weaving and reweaving?]

Another thing that works for me is memory plants in my garden. It started when Dad died several years ago. That spring I planted a mahonia. He had loved them and had several in his yard. Every time we visited he offered me a "baby" that I always declined. Then when he was dead, I suddenly found myself thinking of him and planting the mahonia. That same spring the mother of my childhood BFF died and I planted the Miss Kim lilac in her memory. She had done a lovely watercolor for us as a wedding gift - of lilacs. Somehow it seemed like the thing to do. Then I realized that one of the first things I put in this garden was a miniature rose from my Aunt's yard. And, voila! I had a memory garden.

I am very lucky that there are so few plants in my garden. Last fall when Mother died my tennis teammates gave me a lovely pink sasanqua that I added and next weekend I will plant a yellow/white rose (a Knock Out) in memory of her husband Ralph. He knew horses, not plants, but was always willing to help in her greenhouse. Ralph was the kind of guy who thought that if watering weekly was good, then watering daily must be seven times as good! But, he had the most sunny disposition I have ever known and I think this rose will be a great reminder. There are a few other people for whom I wish to plant a reminder as soon as I decide on the right choice.

Just as the the flowers in one's garden bring joy to the day, visiting specific plants that remind me of a loved one can bring the wholeness of the garden tapestry into my heart. On Memorial Day I think I will visit my friends and family ... outside. Love to you all.


  1. What a big heart and generous spirit you have Webb.

    I love your story. We have a rose and a hydrangea given to us by GG's mother that are a constant reminder of her love of us and nature.

    And I have yarrow that I planted on September 11, 2002 as a memorial.

    Enjoy your day outside, in the sun with your plants and thoughts.

    xo Jane

  2. What a great way to plant a garden. My father was a great lover of roses and his favourite was 'Blue Moon' which was the first rose I planted in my garden x

  3. See. You both have memorial gardens, too. I think it's something that starts naturally, and may grow.