Gardens are not always just about plants. As a matter of fact, I think the plants are a bit beside the point. A lovely garden is lovely because someone made it so. Just like how a meal cooked “with love” actually tastes more flavorful (it’s a proven fact), a garden planted and tended with love is a thousand times more beautiful than any other. You know it’s true when you’re in it. There’s a certain something that’s hard to identify. It’s almost as if it’s sighing or telling jokes or smiling shyly. Loved gardens have personality.
Last week one of the Rockettes died. As wrenching as it is to lose her, we have to remember that Pat is not actually lost to us because she left us Blithewold. Just like everyone who has tended this place since its beginning and everyone who tends it still, she planted a bit of herself in the gardens. I know she loved it here. And the gardens are spectacular because of it.
The Rock Garden especially was Pat’s although she gave a willing hand in every garden on the property even on her “days off”. I can so easily conjure a picture of her walking with a slight tilt, hatless down the lane to the Rock Garden, weeder in hand chatting (telling proud grandmother stories) with friends who must miss her madly now. And in the garden I see her on all fours knowing just what to do. Completely down to earth in more ways than one. I can’t claim to have known her at all well but I would want her grandchildren to know that I adored her and felt a connection to her even if it was mostly this place. I won’t forget her energy even when she was tired and her perennially positive vibe (even in stinky weather and finally poor health) and her chuckle. She’s left us a beautiful Blithewold but there’s a hole in the garden.