I was lucky enough to become a friend of fellow blogger, Barbara Beacham, of California. Her blog, Life in the Foothills, was always interesting to visit. She wrote amazing flash fiction, took photographs of things that most people would miss, kept an incredible garden, and loved animals.
She battled cancer with such a positive attitude that when she died suddenly on November 22, 2015, I was shocked. She had me convinced she would beat it. She was a kind and lovely person and I wish I could have met her in person.
It would make sense to do a post for her on the anniversary of her leaving us, but the truth is, I’ve thought of her nearly every day for about two years. If you visit her blog at this link, you’ll see how this came about.
She loved her garden, especially the hollyhocks. In the comments, I asked her if she saved the seeds. From that comment on, we began emailing and we traded seeds. She sent me hollyhock seeds and I sent her poppy seeds (which unfortunately didn’t sprout for her). I planted her hollyhock seeds and babied them in my poor soil. They grew, but being biennials, they didn’t bloom that first year. Then the trick was to make sure the plants survived the winter. I piled leaves over them for protection against the cold, and hoped they’d continue to grow in the spring.
But then came a post on her blog that was written on her behalf, by her husband. I cried my eyes out when I read that Barb had died. I didn’t see how that was possible when she was so sure she would win that fight. All I had left of her, besides her blog to visit, were the sprouted hollyhocks in my garden.
I watched those plants and babied them to make sure they survived. When the captain built a new fence around my garden and put raised beds in this spring, I was constantly saying to him, “Careful of those hollyhocks,” and “Watch out for Barb’s flowers.”
I got so nervous about losing them that I moved them to a separate flower bed away from the construction. I thought of her as the plants grew, as the buds formed, and as they opened up to flower. They are a bit feeble compared to those in her own garden, but next year they’ll do better. Meanwhile, I’ve thought of her more than I could have imagined, and I still miss her so much.
But her memory lives on in my garden.