My mother's memorial garden, very heavy on pics

littleonefb(zone 5, MA)July 10, 2007

I just love the thoughtfullness of teenagers and what they can come up with to do when their close friend and her family are dealing with the death of a loved one.

When my mother passed away in late Oct. 2001, my daughter's friends new that we would dig out "all" of my mother's plants from her apartment garden and bring them home to my gardens. I was worried about digging them out as the day of her funeral it was freezing cold, but new I had to do something or we'd lose them all and didn't want that to happen.

These kids, teenagers I call them, but all had just started their first year in college, new I really had no beds to put all of them in and they wanted to do something for me, since they had all grown up in and out of my house. Some of them I had known since my daughter was born.

So while we where at the funeral and cemetary, 5 girls and 5 boys, came over to my house and slaved for 5 hours. When they where done, they had dug out a new flower bed the entire length of one side of the front of the house right at the foundation. They dug it 12 inches deep, then filled it level with miracle grow garden soil, covered it with 4 inches of bark mulch and edged it with rocks they found in the woods. Then they put a huge bouquet of lavender artificial lilacs in the center of the bed, because they where one of my mother's favorite spring flowers.

Of course my camera wasn't working and I couldn't have taken a picture through the tears anyway.

The following weekend, they all met me at my mother's apt and helped dig out the plants, collect the seeds that I could still get from her annuals and helped me plant them all in the new "grandma's memorial garden".

My mother must have been watching out for her plants as by the weekend the temps had gone into the 60's and low 70's in Nov. and I was planting in a t-shirt and it stayed that way for almost 3 weeks. Long enough to let the perennials settle in to their new homes.

The flower bed has grown and changed over the last several years. It's full of my mother's perennials, annuals the seeds that we collected, her lawn decorations and new perennial and annuals that we add every year from a list she kept that she always wanted to add to her gardens.

Also in the garden are the 2 lawn ornaments that my daughter had bought her for mother's day and she never got to use and her wind chimes as well. I've kept the garden bed in the colors that she always had, pinks, lavenders, purples, blues and whites.

So here are pics, lots of them as the bed develops for this year. My labor of love for my mother, thanks to the best friends anyone could have, my daughter's friends who dug the bed and helped plant the perennials and all my trading friends on GW that have traded with me for seeds for that flower bed.

Still getting used to a digital camera so some pics aren't the best.

Distant overview of the size of the garden bed

left corner and part of the center before this year's annual planting. You can see my mother's daylily catherine woodbury in the center with both of the decorations my daughter got her, on the left is her dwarf balloon plant, last years WS foxglove that she always wanted to have, gone by is her columbine songbird robin, a pot of 4 o'clocks from her seeds and of course her mother duck and 3 ducklings for her 3 children and 6 more ducklings for her 6 grandchildren. When she decided she needed more ducklings for her son-in-law and daughter-in-law she couldn't get any more. There's also a malve mauritana in the corner, on the left is also a double dandy sunflower. also a pot of toadflax from her seeds, livinston daisy infront of the ducklings. To the right of the malva is a nautica, and to the left in the back is a new england aster.

another pic of that corner and you can see the chinese forget me nots that are from my mother's original plant as well.

Center and right corner of the garden before this years plants where added. You can see the daylily, a reseed chinese forget me not, the decorations from my daughter, last years WS lupins, some covent garden, my mothers 2 bunnies, a pot of toadflax flamenco, and 2 stems of her hardy pink hibuscus coming up.

After adding more seedlings. you can see more chinese forget me nots, several zinnias and dahlias, a balsam impatiens in the back, and cleome seedlings way in the back.

Livingston daisy in the front and on a low pole one of my mother's lavender wind chimes. it's low to the ground as the movement helps to keep the chipmunks away.

The other side of the daylily with the decoration from my daughter. Behind her are cleome, more zinnias, dahlias, toadflax fairy wings, covent garden, a malva zebrina, and a pink windchime.

Another pic of the center of the planter

right corner before I planted everything. zinnais on the left, pink windchime, the hardy hibiscus in the back, another malva zebrina in a pot, more toadflax in front of the malva, and beside the toadflax is a perennial pink anemone that will bloom next year. Also the bunnies, livingston daisy infront of one of them, the foxglove going to seed on the right.

At the furthest point of the right corner is a sunflower strawberry blone. My mother always wanted to see a pinkish sunflower, so this year I WS some and put one there.

Close up of the victorian girl that my daughter gave my mother before she passed away. The flowers are artificial violas that my mother had and infront of her is my my mother's dianthis firewitch.

close up of the victorian boy and his dog that my daughter gave my mother before she passed away. You can see the seed pods of her columbine songbird robin, white cleome solos and her lavender windchime

my mother's songbird robin

my mother's dianthis firewitch

Thanks for looking, and I'll post more pics of the garden when more flowers are blooming.


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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Hello Fran: It's 3:22 a.m. and I just had a look at your mother's memorial garden. What a wonderful tribute to her and what wonderful friends your daughters have. It must be a great comfort to you to have so much of her around you still. And continuing her 'wish list' is a fabulous idea! You have truly touched my heart. I'm looking forward to more pics. as the summer progresses. Have a wonderful summer!!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 3:28AM
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There's so much love in that garden. It's going to bring you joy for many years to come, and someday divisions from it and seeds grown from the plants will go into your own childrens gardens.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 7:49AM
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What a lovely story. I'm really glad you shared.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 8:49AM
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albertar(z7 LINY)

Dear Fran
Thank you so much for sharing this living testament to your mom.
Those kids were fantastic for doing all that work and helping you. Having lost my dad this past February, and seeing your moms plants reminds me of the very first plant my dad ever pointed out to me. It was a bleeding heart and I'm thrilled to have many in my own yard now, seeing them come up this spring had me wishing I could transplant one and have it grow by dads grave site, but he's buried in a Military Cemetery, they don't allow live plants. So they will stay in my yard for years to come and each and every time I see one, I'll think of dad.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 9:28AM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

Tears in my eyes, and thinking, your mother was blessed to have a daughter like you and you are blessed with a wonderful daughter (with wonderful friends) as well!
I look forward to seeing pics when it's all in bloom.
(You're really selling me on those Victorian figurines, I wantcha ta know...)


    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 1:19PM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

Those kids sure are wonderful. A few now live out of state, but when home to visit, always come by to check on the garden and see what new plants have been added off the list.

The extra marigolds from the originals found homes in my daughter's apt back porch. Yellow and orange that my mom used with her tomatoes to keep the bugs from gettting them.

My son, who lives in Kentucky, has some chinese forget me nots, malva zebrina, and a few others in pots on a patio garden.

My sister and brother prefer to just buy from the nursery, but they do buy some of the plants that my mother grew.

Linda, the funny story with those victorian ornaments is that I would never in a million years have had them in my yard. I always thought "it just isn't me", yet I have my own craft business that is mainly hand thread crochet victorian Xmas tree ornaments. I would put out things like the ducks, the bunnies, a cat, but nothing like those.
In the spring of 2002, I took them all out of the cellar to put in the memorial garden and their wasn't really enough room for the one with the gazing ball, so she got moved to another spot. They grew on me over that summer and now I love them. Must be that I'm just getting old or something strange.

Alberta, you could do what I have done in memory of my grandfather. I grew up with my grandparents on a summer veggie and flower farm. He would plant at least 100 tomato plants. Nothing including severe water bans would stop him from watering those toms of his.

One summer, we had such a severe drought that all water usage outdoors was banned and you could be arrested for using any. He was jumping out of his skin over those tomatoes of his.
So he rigged this elaborate siphoning system from the bathtub to hoses that went out the bathroom window and long enough to reach all the plants of his. Every time someone took a shower, and there where 7 of us, we had to plug the tub so water would collect in the tub. then when it was full, he would drain the water and water his tomato plants.

He rigged another hose to the line from the portable dishwasher to a huge rain barrel and a syphon in there too. All the water from the dishwasher was used on those tomato plants as well. He didn't loose a plant and we had an abundance of tomatoes, but nothing else.

So what I have done since I started gardening over 30 years ago is put an American flag in one of my pots that have my tomatoes in them. He was an Army vet from World War 1 and worked with the military during world war 2. It makes me feel close to him all the time.

Put a flag beside some of your bleeding hearts.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2007 at 4:41PM
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albertar(z7 LINY)

What a great idea about the flags by the bleeding hearts, will definitly do that next season as they come up. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 11:23AM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

Glad you like the idea of the flags by the bleeding hearts.

Here's a picture of my rutgers tomato plant with a flag. It's in with this tomato because it is one that my grandfather always grew. He called it "his trusty standby", because it would never fail.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2007 at 11:16AM
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Oh Fran,

How sweet of those kids. I know you really treasure the memories that garden brings back. After my Mom died I transplanted some of her red tulips and some of those plain orange daylilys that grow wild along side the road everywhere in Va that my Mom had in her yard.
Neither of those were my favorite colors, but I love them because they were Moms.

Oh,the memories.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 12:56AM
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