I'genes_phloxFor years I’ve devoted a day every April to gardening with my oldest friend, Imogene. 

In the beginning we raked and planted side by side.  We got dirty, made a mess, planted beautiful things.  Then Imogene’s husband would come out in his  necktie and sweep  up  after us.  

It was always a really good  day.

More recently, Imogene couldn’t do much heavy work, so she pulled weeds (with a vengeance)  from a lawn chair that I moved around.

The last few times we planted, she  held the plant tags and watched from the window, too frail to navigate her own back stairs.

Then in late February, at the age of 97,  my oldest friend passed away. 

It was time,  as they say.  Still I  am sad that we will not celebrate Spring in her garden this year.  But it helps that Imogene is everywhere in mine.  

Gardeners go on–

In the plants they share like the blue woodland phlox in the top photo.  Imogene dug a clump from her garden for mine almost 30 years ago.   Because of the cool weather, it is having a splendid year. 

In the designs they inspire like this path I built with my own two hands after the brick knot garden that Imogene built with her own two hands became a problem for the mower guy and  she told me I would be doing her a big favor if I carted all the hand-made brick away.  I'gene's_brick

In the knowledge and encouragement they pass on to younger gardeners which may be why I’m finally able to sit down and write about the loss of my dear friend.  Husband Bill and I just spent a very hard but satisfying Saturday afternoon helping co-blogger Melissa  limb up trees in her garden. 

The best gardens are never solo projects—Imogene would be proud.

My oldest friend and garden mentor, Imogene and me

My oldest friend and garden mentor, Imogene and me