Gardening In Honor Of My Husband's Grandmother Phyllis

Josh's grandmother, Phyllis, passed away over a week ago after suffering for a long while with dementia.  I was lucky to get to know Grandma Phyllis a bit before this awful disease slowly took it's toll on her health and personality.  She was an art lover and painter.  Her art hangs in many places on the walls in my Grandpa Morris' & and Aunt Becca's home as well as in my mother and father-in-law's home.  Josh and I have two of her musically inspired paintings hanging in Josh's studio.  I've heard stories about how she loved to cook and entertain.  She also loved to have flowers in her garden beds around her house.  I can relate to her desire to live surrounded by beauty and to practice and live a creative life.

Last fall Aunt Becca asked if I would help her take care of the garden beds that she and her mother, Grandma Phyllis, used to tend.  Becca hired me to thoroughly weed then redesign the beds.  We've been having lots of fun working and bringing beauty back to the garden beds that Phyllis loved so much.  We are excited to have tended flower beds around the house again and look forward to the fall when Becca might hire someone to do some stone work to replace the old wood that has lined the beds for the past two decades.  It's a work in progress... 

Josh and I went down to Pennsylvania this past weekend for the memorial and before the guests arrived I weeded and dead headed the beds and flowers hoping that somehow Grandma Phyllis was enjoying and appreciating the flowers and plants.  It felt good to honor her in my own physical, private and creative way in her garden.

Here are some photos of the gardens...
Aunt Becca's and Grandpa Morris's home and gardens...  They live in a lovely spot surrounded by pasture in an energy efficient passive solar envelope house.

Here in this partially sunny spot as you walk towards the front entrance was clematis, liatris, and some lily's that Grandma Phyllis planted years ago.  I added a russian sage, heuchera, butterfly bush, portulaca, monarda, marigolds,  nepeta, echinacea and zinnia's.  I'm enjoying the mix of colors, a palette of purples, oranges, greens and a few pink shades for good measure.

I redesigned this bed and it may change further when some intended stone work is done this upcoming fall.  Here I planted some of my favorite plants.  The pink and airy flowered Meadow Sweet (Filipendula), Russian Sage, Butterfly Weed (Asclepias) as well as Grandma's Peonies which I moved and replanted.  She and my aunt also love marigolds so they are in the mix along with more echinacea and portulaca.

In front of the greenhouse windows are a couple smaller beds where I planted an ornamental grass I fell in love with last year called "Red Ribbons" which is a red switch grass.  As it grows and matures the blades vary from shades of green to shades of reddish purple.  In the bed closer to the door I repeated the theme of purple and orange with nepeta and asclepias.  A pink monarda is in the mix as well.