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.