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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Friday, July 20, 2007

tribute to a good neighbor

Today marks one year that my sweet next door neighbor passed over from this life to heaven. She fought a hard fight against an insidious disease but in the end she left us too soon. Not only was she an avid gardener of plants and vegetables she was a kind, tender, and thoughtful person.
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.


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  2. sigh. that was a beautifully-written post and a beautiful tribute to your friend. thanks to your thoughtful words, i could "see" her in the garden "milling about"---i'm sorry for your loss. what a wonderful neighbor to have all those years.

  3. A beautiful tribute to your neighbor and friend. I'm sure she's smiling down from heaven and enjoying your garden.

  4. What a wonderful tribute. Claudia was certianly a neat lady and wonderful neighbor.

  5. Yes, I fondly remember her too. Your commemorative has brought tears to my eyes, as I recall her cheery wave or hello whenever I arrived to visit you. She had a wonderful grace to her, and her passing too soon from this earthly realm grieved me. I didn't realize it had been a year today. Your post has brought up good memories, along with the sadness of her absence.

    It is most interesting that your last two posts have been of the contributions two of your neighbors have had in your garden development. Claudia didn't realize, I am sure, that she was creating her own memorial with the helpful insight and experience she had gleaned over the years. As you survey your prolific results, you must see her influence in every corner of your yard. And sweet Helen, who continues to share her plants and cuttings with you, must relish the thought that you have some of her own 'soul' flourishing in your garden. How fortunate that God 'planted' you between two such avid gardeners, who have shared your passion for the 'growing of things' in your corner of the world. I am certain that neither of them expected to receive such recognition as this blog has generated, but now both of them have reached far beyond their self-efforts, and brought additional blessing to all your blog readers. Would that each of us could be such a 'good neighbor'!

  6. P.S. ~ I have thought it would be quite interesting if you could furnish some photos of your garden from your early years til now. It would help us realize that no one can arrive where you have overnight, and we readers could take solace in knowing that we can start now and aim for our own improved results.

  7. mlm and nt: we had some long walks together too. she never tired of hearing stories about my family.

    susan: i think you are right... smiling indeed.

    sg: your recollections stirred even more remembrances in me. thank you for your sweet words.

    you stated: "How fortunate that God 'planted' you between two such avid gardeners, who have shared your passion for the 'growing of things' in your corner of the world."

    it is so true. i am ever grateful that He knows what we each need and knows how to supply.

    your suggestion of old photos would be a good one if i had some. i can probably try to scan some into my computer but i only have digital back to 2001... i'll see what i can come up with. :-)


Have a blessed day,

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