An Alameda Garden: In Memoriam

Thursday, June 21, 2007

In Memoriam

Today we are having the funeral for my Aunt Helen, who died last week at the age of 87. Before Alzheimer's got its grip on her, she was a clever, busy, and very caring woman who took care of her family, including a daughter with MS, and her home, which included a beautiful garden. I spent a lot of time with Helen when I was growing up. Her home was just around the corner from my school and I went over there when school let out to wait until my mom was home from work.

In those afternoons, when it was just Helen, my cousin Dorothy who for the most part couldn't communicate, and me hanging out, I got my first introduction to someone who really loved to garden. I could see how she looked forward to the afternoons that were warm enough to take my cousin out in the wheelchair into the backyard, where Helen would dig in. It looked like a lot of work to me, but I know now how replenishing it must have been for her.

I am beginning plans for a small memorial garden for Helen somewhere in my yard, but in truth much of my garden is already a memorial to her. The passion flower vine, the canna, the cherry tree, the poor man's orchid (shown here) are all plants I learned to love in her garden. I hope wherever she is now, there is a beautiful garden for her and plenty of time to work in it.


  1. This post is also a lovely tribute to your Aunt Helen, Clare--I'm sorry for your loss. It sounds like Helen enriched your life so much that you were lucky to have her in it. I'm guessing that she would be very satisfied to know that.

  2. Thats a lovely Tribute.I was just writing a post that remembered your passionflower.Im sure she would be happy that you took the Gardeners flame from her, and get pleasure growing those shared plants.
    A memorial garden would be good full of her favourite plants and flowers.

  3. How wonderful to have had such an inspiration in your life. Her love for life and gardening lives on through you. Thank you for sharing such loving memmories.

  4. What a nice way to keep your aunt's memory alive! I'm sure she'd be very happy to know that you're continuing the garden tradition!


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