I just found out that one of my clients passed away a couple of days ago. I am so sad. I have known this woman for decades as she loved to shop at Natureworks. A few years ago she asked me to help her with her garden. When we met that winter, she shared with me that she was very ill and knew that she wasn't going to be here for very long. Therefore, she wanted to create the garden of her dreams to enjoy in the time she had left. I was stunned with her honesty and courage.
We proceeded to collaborate on one of the most interesting gardens I have ever designed in my career. She gave me carte blanche. All she wanted was a detailed plant list so she could veto a plant that was not amazing enough. The criteria for this landscape was wild and wacky plants. Brilliant, intense colors. Fun foliage. Variegation. The crazier the better. I pulled out all the stops and put together combinations that blew both of our minds.
I hooked her up with the man who built my raised beds and he built lots of them for her. Due to her illness, she had to have tops on the sides of the beds so she could sit. Every kind of edible plant was included. She had fresh produce into the early winter and lots of it came back in the early spring. She planted perennial crops like rhubarb and asparagus.
As time went on, this brave woman rode the typical roller coaster ride of a terminal illness. Myself and my crews and staff rode it along with her. There were months of rejoicing and hope as she seemed to get a lot better. There were scary times when she was away from the garden for weeks on end. The projects just kept on coming. We rented machinery and cleared tons of invasive and enlarged the garden. We eliminated lawn and replaced it with more beds. She had contractors build an amazing, gigantic stone water feature. She had an oversized, outdoor checkerboard. We landscaped the backdrop for an inflatable outdoor movie screen and she showed movies in the summer for the neighborhood kids who adored her. Her garden was filled with pieces of custom made sculpture. Ergonomic art that moved in the wind. A giant rusty metal venus flytrap. A garden of glass flowers along the shady side of the garage. Little metal men carting around gnomes, watched over by curious pink flamingos. The yard was a wonderland.
Talk about living for the moment. This two year journey that we took together taught me so much about enjoying the time that you are given. To garden is to believe in tomorrow. I will never forget her creativity, determination, grace, and courage. Godspeed my friend.