To the flowers I whisper the secrets I keep and the hopes I breathe.
I know they are there to eavesdrop for the angels.
I remember bringing some of her plants home with me; the most lovely was Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote' ('Hidcote' lavender). I had to try the transplanting, but this tender Zone 5 plant could not survive a northern winter. Losing those plants was another grief and I remember breaking down months later when admiring lavender at a local greenhouse.
It's absolutely true that plants – their flowers and their scents – have an evocative power. They bring back memories. I also believe they can keep memories.
That's why in the spring after Catherine died I looked for plants to create a memorial garden. I purchased several Astilbe chinensis 'Visions in Pink' ('Visions in Pink' False Spirea) thanks to a nursery gift certificate from kind friends. You see, I needed five plants – one for each of the girls in our family. I have no brothers, just sisters.
When a gardener creates a memorial, I am sure there is hidden significance behind the intention. I wanted a place of memory that kept Catherine with me and my surviving sisters in some way.
In a sun-dappled corner, the astilbe are growing happily. The mirror I placed behind the bed plays with the plants, increasing their number. Yet, there is the bittersweet reminder that while some are present, some are only reflections. People pass from our life; that is the way of things, but in the garden there can be peaceful memories.
You are remembered, my sister.
Astilbe chinensis 'Visions in Pink' - www.therebloomsagarden.com
This photo was selected for inclusion in the Master Gardeners of Ontario (MGOI) 2013 Annual Report. Thank you to MG coordinators across Ontario for their recognition. ~ H Rupert