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.)