The photo today is one I took May of last year of the front corner of her yard. It struck me as a particularly bright and beautiful bed so I thought to snap a photo. She had worked especially hard last spring to get everything in ship-shape. About 2 weeks after this photo her doctor gave her the grim news that she probably only had a few weeks to live. Sadly, the same corner of her yard this year is barren and missing her good-hearted soul like the rest of us.
Claudia taught me much about the basics of gardening when I first moved into my house over 23 years ago. Our yards are each just over half an acre. Mine was almost all grass (and much of it eaten by chinch bugs) except for the trees and the palmettos at the base of the oaks. I really didn’t have a clue back then of what I was doing but I knew I had to (and wanted to) learn. over the years, if I had any particular problem with something landscape related, I would ask her about it even before I consulted the local nursery. Coming from a long line of Floridian gardeners, she always knew the tricks of the gardening. She was the first person to mention I should take pictures of my caladiums. Fifteen years ago I thought it was kind of a silly idea, so she took one with her camera and presented me with my first photo of my caladium plantings. Wish i knew where that was now.
Oh, we lamented the heat, the bugs, the weeds, and the drought as we passed each other in our toil. but as we sweated and commiserated we also laughed at "how we just kept making our flower beds bigger" or "how we just had to buy those annuals " and “were't we good at making more work for ourselves?” She was my guru of gardening and she was a dear person.
Even after a whole year, I still haven’t adjusted to my expectation of seeing her milling about in her yard on these summer evenings. It is still difficult to comprehend we can not discuss our spring and fall project plans. I will forever be grateful for her friendship and all she taught me and I will miss her as long as I walk this earth.