Last night's storm created havoc on our backyard garden. Hail the size and shape of medium sized bird’s eggs fell with the speed and the fury of machine-gun fire.
The noise inside the house was terrifying; and outside, the sound of the tornado siren could be heard despite the clatter of the rain and the wind.
The storm literally covered the ground with bit and pieces of leaves and small branches. Green leaves were plastered on the windows, upstairs and downstairs, like sad window framed art.
Several of my hanging geraniums lost all of their flowers and many of their leaves. In the shaded corner of the garden, the hostas look as if an elephant trampled on them. The ferns, maybe because of their smaller needled leaves, better withstood the fury of the storm.
Yesterday, before the storm, our small garden was like a picture of beauty, peace, and tranquility. Today it looks like a war was fought and lost there.
Looking at so much destruction, I also worry about the birds which visit our feeders daily. How did they survive the rage of the hail and the wind? I have seen a few come back today but only the next days will tell us the whole story.
Despite my sadness for the loss of so much work and the damage to so many beautiful plants and flowers we were lucky, both personally and regionally, because nobody was killed in Georgia and our house was not damaged. Our thoughts go out to those in other regions who were not as fortunate.
Now we just have to wait for nature to heal itself. It will take some time, but it will and my garden will be back to its normal peaceful and beautiful self.
Two years ago, Phil Schmidt lost his wife Martha Jean to cancer. She was his friend, his companion and the mother of his children. She was also the love of his life.
He was left alone with just her memory and unfulfilled dreams. His answer to his loss was to dedicate the rest of his life to create a garden to commemorate her life.
He had never gardened before but he learned now, all for the love of his wife of 36 years. An industrial engineer by trade, accustomed to dealing with numbers and formulas, he is now a full time gardener who deals with colors and sun and soil conditions.
Where there was only grass before, there are now flowerbeds, crushed stone walks, sculptures, bird feeders and birdhouses. Several ponds add the enchantment of water to the place
During these two years, he has planted lots of roses and hydrangeas and azaleas and tons of bulbs. And he keeps planting more every week. The garden is a very peaceful place where the silence is only broken from time to time by the sound of the chimes and the singing of the birds. A beautiful monument to a woman who loved and was loved.
If you are ever close by, stop to talk to Phil. He will be happy to show you the garden and share his memories with you. The Martha Jean Memorial Garden is in Otto, NC, close to Clayton in Rabun County, GA. You can find more information in the August 2010 issue of the Georgia Mountain Laurel magazine, page 74.
Coming soon... 2012 Orchid Garden Desk Calendar. Each month a different exotic and beautiful orchid to brighten your day.