Sunday, May 27, 2007

Remembering on Memorial Day

We stopped by Solana Succulents yesterday on our way from one brewery to the next. Later, K e-mailed the owner a photo of my short-lived succulent and he wrote back with it’s name. What a fitting exercise for Memorial Day: naming the dead plant. The succulent was a trichodiadema bulbosum, also known as the African Bonsai.

But it’s not all about what’s gone on this lovely summer day. Both of my black-eyed Susan vines (Thunbergia) are in bloom on opposite sides of the same arbor. The softer colored one was identified as “Apricot Smoothie” when I got it as a one gallon pot a few years ago.

The original one was planted from seed – the only seed to survive from an attempt to start several around various arbors. It’s older but sparser because it receives less direct sun than it’s companion, and also because it’s water supply is more dependent on me where the apricot smoothie gets watered from an automatic line that waters every day.

Today is a day we remember those who are gone. In remembering plants lost from my garden, I am able to stop and remember people who are gone. Here is my favorite poem about how gardeners especially, can remember people we loved who are no longer with us:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
- Mary Elizabeth Frye, “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep”

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