Cuttings

The Most Important Garden

ILLUSTRATION BY LINDA COOK DEVONA
Helicopter silhouette

John Friel, Marketing Manager for Emerald Coast Growers and longtime friend, wrote in Green Profit magazine (December 2019) about a presentation at a perennial conference
by the high-end landscaper James Alexander Sinclair

His finale was “The Most Important Garden I Ever Made.” Something about his tone hushed the crowd, and rightly so: This garden graces a spinal injury center hemmed in by highways, a place for those who find their lives “changed forever, in an instant.”

A patient’s wife told him that when she and her husband simply needed “a good cry,” there was nowhere to go but a broom closet.

The cure: a public place composed of private places, where families can have their quiet time, or sit in fellowship amid living beauty, not antiseptic smells and beeping monitors. Or brooms.

Afterwards I told James of a garden visit that moved me deeply, on a children’s hospital rooftop. At random, I opened a guest book where visitors record their thoughts and found this: “I love this garden,” a mother wrote. “I was sitting in this garden the night the helicopter landed with my daughter’s new heart.”

I could not read, nor can I recount or even type those words dry-eyed. They get me every time.

May you always be surrounded loved ones. Don’t ever let anyone tell you gardens are a luxury.


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