The Ghost in Our GardenWednesday, May 09, 2018
Kathleen Young had a heart attack in our kitchen. She lay on the floor for a day before she was found still alive. In 1986 we bought her house and she was moved to a home in Ontario.
In the beginning I thought her garden was her turf and Rosemary and I were reluctant to change anything. We would discover plants and try to figure out why Mrs. Young had chosen them or why she had placed them in that particular spot. After about a year I could almost say I knew a bit about her because of her garden. To me she was a ghost and I would somehow walk through her as I mowed the lawn or planted a rose.
Eventually her presence faded and the garden became our own. We radically changed it and removed lots of lawn and added new flower beds.
Two years ago we left our fine corner house and garden. We moved some of the plants to the large garden our eldest daughter Ale has in Lillooet. We brought some plants to our Kits duplex. We told some friends to help themselves. I could not watch as they dug up some of my roses, shrubs and hostas. A few plants went to the UBC Botanical Garden.
I believe in ghosts.
Somehow there is something of Rosemary and this her husband in those plants at UBC. I look at some of my Gallicas in Lillooet with a bit of a smile but I keep my melancholy at my loss inside.
A few weeks ago we went to the old house. It is still there but the garden is almost gone. An excavator was brought in to level the place and the circular mound where I had my roses (it was a sunny spot) is flat. Nothing is growing. Our water heater is still in the middle of the walk. It has been there for almost a year.
When we moved to that house we could feel the presence (or at least I did since I believe in ghosts). When the house is finally torn down nobody will know the history of the almost 100 year-old house. At least five of our cats are buried there. If there is a new garden will the owners walk through us? Will their pets sense our dead cats and the racoons that lived in the thuja?
By then we might even be ghosts here in Kits.
The photograph here of Virve Reid to me seems like an apparition of a young Kathleen Young. She is a ghostly apparition who must have not approved of our changes at first.
In the end the Kathleen Young who lived into her 90s must have known that her garden was ours but hers, too.