The Most Important Garden

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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