A Tale of Two Gardens (GBBD, Part One)

A few years ago, my friend Amy told me that if she were ever to be known for planting a particular flower, one that would appear throughout her garden in masses and drifts and waves, it would be white tulips. Every year in October, she and I would make a trip to Houston's annual Bulb & Plant Mart to peruse the offerings. Amy's first stop would always be the Tulip booth, where she'd purchase 100 Ivory Floradale tulips to plant in her island bed out front. She continued to dream of the day when hundreds of white tulips would grace her spring garden, but until she could make that dream come true, those 100 bulbs sufficed as her signature flower. When she died so suddenly and unexpectedly late last spring, all of us were too broken-hearted to really consider what would become of her garden. But as Bulb Mart's dates approached, I realized that I could continue her tradition of planting white tulips in that island bed and thus honor her dream and her memory. So I bought 100 Ivory Floradales and brought them home to chill in my refrigerator for the requisite 8 weeks. Wednesday afternoon, I loaded FloraBob, my little red truck, with tools, cow manure and the bulbs, then took off for Amy's house. I spent the afternoon clearing the bed of weeds and dead or dying plants, whacking back the Peruvian Pavonia that was overwhelming its small space, and then digging the holes for the tulips. Per fellow garden blogger Elizabeth of Gardening While Intoxicated, I dug one large trench and planted the bulbs close together, almost touching. I topped them with some of the good rich soil that Amy had nurtured in that bed, adding a bit of cow manure to top dress. This is how it all looked when I'd finished.

As I rested from my labors and looked around her garden, I contemplated the beds she'd created along the curb, sighing over how much work needed to be done to whip them into shape. But the longer I looked, the more I found to rejoice over and to smile about. Yes, it was neglected and a bit untidy without the loving attention that Amy lavished on it ... but all the hard work she put into her soil and her design enabled many of the plants to not only withstand the neglect but to flourish unaided. Since the next day was Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, the brainstorm of Carol at May Dreams Gardens, I decided that I'd share not just my blooms this month, but Amy's. I took a walk around her gardens, front and back, and here's a collage of some of what's blooming in her garden.

Plants, top row: Black-Eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata), Morning Glory (!), Silky Gold Butterfly Weed, Red Firespike. Plants on 2nd row: Abutilon, Pink Knockout Rose (?), Dianthus, and a charming little weed. Plants in between 2nd & 3rd rows: Azalea, Brazilian Button Bush (Centratherum). Plants on 3rd row: Snow on the Mountain (Alternanthera), Rose 'Buff Beauty', Rose 'Felicia' (?), and Summer Snowflakes (Leucojum).

Stay tuned for Part 2, in which I share the blooms from my garden and doubtless am accused of Egregious Garden Gloating (EGG) (see this post by Carol of MDG for an explanation).


Carol said…
What a wonderful way to remember your friend Amy. Her blooms are beautiful and those tulips will be gorgeous this spring.

I'll add this post to the list over on my blog.

Thanks for a very special bloom day post.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens
MA said…
I adore you. Now I am all sobby over Amy's garden. Good job.Thanks for sharing her garden and her friendship with us.
I can just imagine how beautiful that bad is going to look come spring. What a wonderful tribute to your dear friend.
EAL said…
Good for you for planting those tulips. It is a lovely way to memorialize a friend. Thanks for the link. I, like everyone, can't wait to see these in the spring. I know it will be before any of my tulips.
Gail said…
Dear Cindy,

A beautiful honoring of Amy and her garden....as you told the story I was so excited thinking, Cindy is going to plant Amy's tulips and you, did!

I can't wait to see it this spring. Take care! Gail
Thanks, y'all. As you've doubtless gathered, Amy was a very special friend and not a day goes by that I don't miss her. I'd been afraid that working in her garden without her would prove too painful but I found an unexpected solace and peace in doing so. I look forward to my next visit there.
Mimi said…
You revered Amy's memory in the best possible way. She is smiling, I know. You gesture is exactly what she would have done for someone.
Beautiful words. Beautiful collage. Poignant coming on the heels of my own friend's death. Thank you for planting those white tulips. Your friend is smiling in the afterlife.~~Dee
Anonymous said…
Tricia ...
Thank you for planting those tulips, Cindy. What a sweet thing to do both for Amy, and for her family. To know someone loved your wife and mother that much, will be a great comfort to them. It's wonderful to see Amy's garden, too. I miss it, but miss her ever so much more!
Annie in Austin said…
The bloom day collage is lovely, Cindy. I love that you planted the tulips and hope that when they bloom other hearts are touched.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose
Mimi & Tricia, I hope I did the GG proud. I'm planning to go back over there Friday and work on the beds along the curb.

Dee, I'm so sorry for your loss. I wish neither of us knew so much about grieving.

Annie, thank you. I hope that Amy's family will feel her near when they see the tulips blooming.
Lori said…
The rose second from the left in the bottom row-- is that Buff Beauty? It's gorgeous.

Also, I just wanted to say that I can't think of a better thing to do for a gardening friend than to keep her garden growing.