Flamingos for Dulcy

Dulcy (Mahar) died on July 2.  She was the beloved garden columnist for the Oregonian in Portland. It goes without saying that she, and her words, will be missed.

For those of us in the garden community, her weekly column was a must-read. In fact, it was often the first and sometimes the only feature I would take the time read in the weekly Homes and Gardens section.  I didn’t realize this at the time, but she began her weekly columns right around the time my husband dragged me kicking and screaming to his home state.  So I have been reading her words and following her advise (often to eat more chocolate!) for just around 20 years.

She has an amazing garden.  Her columns outlined her experiences and experiments with gardening in the Pacific Northwest.  Being a good gardener, she tried over the years to follow the rules. .. but as she and her garden matured, she began to write her own.  The garden became less formal and more whimsical.  And she started a trend.  Pink Flamingos, that much maligned and labeled lawn decoration, found their way into her garden and into her heart, and by extension, to ours.

On Saturday her friends opened her garden for viewing. As you can imagine, the people came from all around to walk thru her space and remember her columns.  As a group, we gardeners can be very friendly and chatty. Especially when talking about our shared passion. More about that walk thru her garden in a future post.

I was struck by how many came, how respectful and how cheerfully sad we all were as we walked around.  Because of the crowds I had to park about 5 blocks away from the home.  It was a beautiful summer day, the walk was pleasant and the yards in her neighborhood are amazing in their own right.

I hadn’t walked far when I began to see them ….

Flamingos.  In the lawns of her neighbors.  Along the sidewalk, next to the driveway.  Pink memorials to the woman that we had come to know as just Dulcy.

I spent about 2 hours walking around her garden and talking to fellow gardeners, and her personal friends.  The occasion wasn’t formal, or somber, nor was it upbeat and cheerful.  Gardeners, more than most I think, know what the circle of life is about. Death and dying are a big part of our world.  But so is hope. After all, you have to have large doses of hope and optimism to garden in our Zone ! After walking around and enjoying the gardens and the company, I walked slowly back to my car. And saw them again.

Pink Flamingos.  Guiding me back to my truck. I really wish that Dulcy could have seen them.  And maybe she did.  Here are the photos I took, just in those 5 blocks or so. A whimsical memorial to a great lady, great writer and hopeful gardener.

*click the photos to view full size images ~