Tuesday, June 8, 2010

In Meg's Garden

I visited Meg's garden last weekend, the first time since her death.

Her long-time companion called, asking for help identifying plants, and guidance in their care. He arrived bearing farmers-market annuals - a few of Meg's favorites she ran out of time to pick up.

There were alot of self-seeded annuals, herbs, and veggies blooming exuberantly. Meg didn't have a separate veggie bed - perennial and annual ornamentals, edibles, and medicinals mingle and naturalize freely in a large bed near the back door. Many of her favorites - calendula, tomato, fennel, dill, eggplant, squash, arugula, green, purple, and variegated lettuces, chards, and her signature heirloom pumpkins and gourds are growing, as if Meg had planted them herself.

I am soothed by the movement of leaves, the touch of the breeze, the gentle interplay of light and shadow. . . As the days pass, I'm grateful for the support of the earth. . . and for friends who have held me up when my heart was heavy.

She saw potential in a tired, run-down, but adorable vintage dollhouse - how she loved this place! In three short years she transformed the interior and nearly-featureless lawn into a lovely, loved home and gardens, overflowing with personality and reflective of an artist's soul. This place is a part of her living on, where her spirit, joy, exuberance, love and imagination are felt, her smile seen, her laughter heard.

A life lived well is ultimately measured not by the momentous occasions of that life, but by how those moments have been spent.

She created a series of meandering beds and borders, unearthing long-buried rocks and flagstones, using them to create garden rooms. Flat-topped rocks and tree stumps became seating, and pedestals for pieces of her quirky collection of found objects and her own artwork. She had a gift for seeing beauty and usefulness in almost anything.

Meg called Autumn Bride heuchera her signature plant. It was in the gardens of nearly all her clients.

Her gardens are thriving - even the pansies she planted this spring are still lovely.

Another name for violets is heartsease - pansies may also be referred to by this common name. The leaves of violets or the flowers of pansies can help ease emotional as well as physical afflictions of the heart.

Friends, family, and neighbors come by regularly to weed and water the garden, and feed the cats - her indoor kitties, and the strays she fed on the front porch. On arrival, I found one of her neighbors, here with Bruno, her doggie companion, finding solace in Meg's garden, pulling creeping charlie in a sunny bed. I smiled, remembering countless hours spent with Meg pulling creeping charlie - hours spent in quiet companionship, lively and deep conversation, humor and playfulness - enjoying the warm, open, easy, close connection Meg shared with everyone she knew.

Meg was a kind, gentle soul. She left a legacy of wisdom, love, compassion, acceptance, deep spirituality, and, beautiful, poignant, comforting memories of the best kind of friendship.

The paradox I am wrestling with is how I can allow myself to be fully connected in love, knowing that loss. . . is always, eventually, inevitable. For me, the answer is that what exists in love becomes eternal. It will always be present as part of me, and through me, as part of the world. . . To paraphrase Tennyson, it is better to mourn the loss of that which we have loved in this world than to mourn the passing of each opportunity to love. . .

(The quotes are all Meg's. Besides being a gardener extraordinaire, and an artist, she was also a prolific writer, with published articles on gardening, herbs, and spirituality, and many personal, unpublished journals, essays, and poems. She would have been an awesome garden blogger.)


  1. What a wonderful tribute to your friend Meg. It is also so nice that there will be people to keep up her garden.


  2. I agree with Eileen. A great tribute to your friend and thanks for letting us tour her garden with you.

  3. Aw, Linda, what a wonderful and moving post about your friend. I love the quotes, especially the last. It's so wonderful that you and her other friends and neighbors are tending her garden and caring for her cats. I would hope if I died, someone would do that for me. <3 you!

  4. Hi,
    Your friend would be so touched. It must feel like she's there with you, when you spend time there. We are all such a part of our gardens. Thanks for sharing.

  5. The garden is so beautiful! Lovely legacy. Meg's labour of love is so blessed with supportive friends like yourself. Thanks for sharing. I have learnt much ;-)

  6. Hi Eileen, the long-term future of Meg's home and garden is uncertain, but at least for the season we'll be able to visit and help care for it.

    Thank you MBT. I'm sure Meg would be pleased sharing her garden here.

    Aw, thanks Monica. I love the quotes too. Meg was a wonderful writer. She lived a courageous, unconventional life, daring to pursue her passions of writing, gardening, and art in multiple vocations, always putting family and spirituality first.

    Hi Balisha, Meg touched my life in many ways. She knew how much I appreciated her while she was here. I feel so grateful for the mutually-supportive friendship we had. You're right, she's still here with us, through her garden, her art, her home, her beautiful spirit, and her love.

    Stephanie, we're blessed and honored for having known Meg. She left a beautiful legacy. The things I learned from her will stay with me all my life, and it's a joy and comfort sharing this.

  7. What a lovely post about a friend. I truly wish I could have known her. It is both sad and beautiful that her memory lives on in you and now in the people who have read this post.

  8. A lovely and touching blog entry for your friend.
    I think in time the hole you feel in your heart from losing someone turns into the wonderful memories you had while they were here.
    You already started that process here today.

  9. It's a moving post, Linda.

    I think having a place, like a blog, where one can put thoughts and photos like these can help with emotions about difficult things like this.

    Hope you are ok.


  10. Linda, i was so moved by the last quote I shared it with my friend whose hubby recently passed away. She likes it so much she wants to use it in the memorial service for her husband (different from the funeral I missed!). She would like to credit Meg as the author in the program. If you feel comfortable emailing her last name, I'll pass it on to my friend. I think it's a nice way to honor both Meg and my friend's husband's memories. But I understand if you don't feel it's appropriate for whatever reason.

  11. She was a lovely friend Marnie - I'm sure you would have loved her. None of us who knew her will ever forget her.

    Thank you Debbie. We all who knew Meg have been spending a lot of time sharing our memories of her with each other. I miss her physical presence, yet I still feel her spirit and influence in my life.

    Thank you Esther. It has been good writing my thoughts about Meg. I am fine - Meg was such a supportive, comforting person to be around, and I still feel her warmth, and hear her comforting words in my head. I keep having flashes of her smiling. Meg had such a warm, kind, contagious smile, it's impossible not to smile back.

    Monica, Meg would be honored. I'm glad your friend found the quote comforting. I'll be happy to email you her full name.

  12. I can feel the love in Meg's garden.

  13. Linda, this is such a moving post--what a wonderful tribute to your friend! Her quotes are so poignant, and I agree she would have been a great garden blogger, one that we all would have looked forward to reading.

    I think it's lovely that so many of her friends are keeping up her garden. It's a great memorial to her, and I would think it provides a source of solace for all of you who have lost such a dear friend.

  14. I'm glad you can feel the love there too Nancy.

    Thank you Rose.

    We would have loved Meg's blog. I hope one day some of her writings are compiled and published. They should be shared. She was SUCH a good writer.

    Meg is everywhere in her garden, and it was wonderful being there. It's a place where it's pretty much impossible to be sad. It's so comforting being there, as if her arms are wrapped around us.

  15. A sweet post and surely a wonderful way to have her memory live on in way of your blog. Hugs.

  16. Dear Linda, it's so hard to lose a friend~I am glad you can find her in her garden. She sounds like she was a remarkable woman with a big talent for loving and living life. gail

  17. Thank you Rosey. I wish I could share her with the world. She made it a better place being here.

    It's been hard Gail - I miss her a lot. But yes, she is everywhere in her garden, and in her house too. She was indeed a remarkable, gifted woman. You'd have loved her.


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