Sometimes, walking round the garden and looking at different plants, I remember friends from the past. Many plants are associated with old friends. The plants themselves become old friends and they remind us of the people who gave them to us, or who carefully divided large clumps of favourites to share with others.
In your seventies, you ‘lived adventurously’.
Friends suspected madness, but were wrong.
After years of caring you were free
to create a garden of rooms
with hedges to shelter kniphofia,
crocosmia, rambling roses.
Birds flocked there, your pond was
lit by damselflies, flashes of iridescent blue.
The garden was your love;
friends found a peace there,
absorbed your love of life,
a life where worry wasn’t welcome.
You and your elderly dog, two old ladies together,
‘walking cheerfully over the world’,
an inspiration to any young
who dreaded being old.
On your birthday, aged ninety three,
you wheeled a barrow load of weeds towards me,
brushed errant strands of hair with garden hands,
smiled and offered tea.
You came to rest there, lying in the garden,
Secateurs by your side, not to be used again.
A slender vase of your crocosmia sits on my table
cheerful, colourful, defying sadness.