"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Perpetuating a Legacy

About eight and a half years ago we bought this house. The moment I walked in the door I felt this beautiful feeling of home and sanctuary. It was strange because the house was rather neglected and not in the best repair. I later found out the home had belonged to a lady well into her 90's. Her husband had built this home for her when she was a young bride. The feelings of family, laughter, and love were imbued into the walls and  expressed themselves as a tangible presence if you would quiet your mind and let them touch you.

The garden was a tangled mess. It had been years since anyone had really tackled it. But there were hints of its past. At one time loving hands had nurtured the plants and flowers gracefully guiding them to express the beauty they possessed. At one time someone who loved to garden had reigned.

We knew nothing of gardens but we jumped in with both feet. We made mistakes. We managed to get sweaty, bloody, dirty, and exhausted and usually all on the same day. Slowly but surely we have made the garden ours. My dreams of a wild English style perennial garden has finally come to fruition. My roses have taken hold and our flourishing. Wild and beautifully rampant Russian Sage fills in spaces and adds to the back drop. We have planted what I have a sneaking suspicion will be a HUGE edible garden along with a couple thriving blueberry bushes.

But you see, her garden is still there. Intermingled with our efforts are the result of work done perhaps decades ago. Not long after we bought this house, during the early attempts when we were pretty much just flailing out there, her daughter drove her by her old home. It came to me through the proverbial small town grapevine that she was pleased a young, energetic couple had bought her home and was taking care of it. That truly touched me and drove me to salvage what we could.

This is what we have saved.

These irises were bound mess. They were maybe producing five blooms because the rhizomes were so grown together. After years of determined care, nurturing, and possibly some strong frustrations, this is the result.

We didn't even know what this bush was. It was a mess. Many times we considered just ripping it out and starting over. We persevered and here is the result.

I find it beautifully symbolic to have this glorious Bridal Lace in my back yard. She came here as a new bride and so did I. There is a connections that binds us, strangers, in place and time.

I think we all want a legacy. We want to be remembered and know our work will have lasting effects. For my personal story, I have learned I can only do my best and let the rest come about in its own way and in its own time. But I can continue her legacy. She has now passed away but her work from long ago lives on in my garden.

This is my thank you to her. She provided the home filled with warmth and comfort in which I now raise my children. We make memories in the structure she and her husband created. She provided me with an amazing backdrop and palette to work with each day. I never knew her. I hear she was a lovely woman. I think one of the best things I can do in my life is to make sure her legacy lives on.

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