Saturday, April 12, 2008

Andy's Garden

Somehow, a simple trip to the garden center for white flowers turned into the re-creation of an entire garden. Teresa and I went out this morning to get some candytuft to plant around Andy's grave. After much discussion about where to place the candytuft, we decided that it would be nice as an edging along the path. Except there wasn't any path.

Teresa found a few stepping stones she had made years ago, but we needed more, so out we went, searching for round stepping stones. After several fruitless ventures, we found ourselves at a local hardware store, the farthest thing from a big box retailer you can find. They had the perfect stones, priced very reasonably, on a display in front of the store.

We paid the man at the counter, who directed us to "drive around to the yard" and someone would help us. Indeed, a small boy who could not have been more than seven, dressed in sturdy work pants, a brown jacket, and a baseball cap, pulled up in a golf cart and asked, "What can I help you with sir?"

"I'd like to pick up some stepping stones."

He took my receipt and studied it with a businesslike air. "What color stones do you need?"

"Uh, gray, please." The whole scene felt rather surreal, as though I were being waited on by Oliver Twist, except that the lad was clearly enjoying his position, whatever it was. I could imagine him chuckling as his classmates are being herded off to closely supervised play dates, tubes of hand sanitizer bulging in their pockets, while he gets to drive a golf cart around the stone yard and chat up the cute second grade girls out shopping with their parents. Dude!

He handed me back the receipt. "Wait right here, please, and I'll go get the bossman." He parked his conveyance, hopped out, and strode purposefully over to said bossman and engaged him in conversation.

"He'll be right with you," the boy said, and sped away on his cart to his next errand. For all I know the kid was off to a meeting with a fertilizer supplier to negotiate a discount on his next shipment. He was a real pro.

We got the stones and began working on what we were already calling "Andy's Garden." I planted the Gypsophila and moved the white irises and azaleas that were blooming, seemingly in Andy's honor, to his grave, and divided some Shasta Daisies that were growing nearby. I then edged the bed with variegated liriope while Teresa placed the stones, moved the roses, and pulled up all the weeds. I found some more chunks of quartz and placed them in a circle over Andy's resting place, and added the old stone that Teresa made years ago.

I think I'll plant some white Creeping Phlox inside the circle tomorrow, and add some white Coneflowers when I find some.

We were exhausted, as we've been all week, but this time, it was the good kind of tired.


Iris said...

Sounds like you're feeling a little better today. I admire how you can still tell a good story in the midst of your loss. Andy's garden looks so sweet. Our cat Lucy is just turning 15 and I've been thinking about what we'll do when she goes. Your white garden is a nice idea. Maybe an orange garden in honor of her calico-ness.

David in Greensboro, NC said...

Thank you Iris. Being able to plant a garden helps--call it horticultural therapy. I like to think of it as making a nice, welcoming place for Andy's spirit in case he comes back to visit. I hope Lucy is with you for many more years.

Christine said...

I love how it looks! It's really beautiful. Love the story of the boy, too.

David in Greensboro, NC said...

Thanks Christine--I liked that kid too.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I am so glad to read that you and Theresa are finding such a beautiful and satisfying way to honor Andy. He would be proud. The story of the little boy in charge is sweet too.

Wrenna said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. My aging chihuahua is showing signs of significant slowing down. I came here today looking for garden inspiration, but found instead human inspiration. Thank you.

Carolyn gail said...

Sorry to learn of the loss of your beloved Cat Andy. My Russian Blue was 21 when she passed and I still miss her to this day.

What a lovely memorial garden you've created for him.

That young man must be the owner's son. Sure is impressive for a seven-year-old.

Q said...

Andy's garden will be a delight for many years to come. It is a fine way to honor your friend and companion.
My friend, Kitty, has a garden too!
I used to grow catnip on her grave!
She has been buried now for 15 years. The best cat there ever was this side of the Mississippi.
It is right to honor your friend.