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The Carsen Andrew Memorial Garden

Missing them...

Losing a loved one is always hard; if it's an older person who has lived a full and happy life it doesn't seem so bad.  Sure, we're sad, but we have the comfort that they left a legacy of that life well lived.

Carsen Andrew Memorial Garden

If it's a young child, or a nursing infant, that's when we have real trouble accepting it; losing a child in any fashion leaves us bewildered, and the sheer unfairness of it makes our heart break in two.

The end of February 2014...The end of February 2014...still too much snow

The garden will be a few months in the planning stages - there is over 40 cm (18") of snow to melt yet...

My way of dealing with the loss of my beautiful grandson, who I had yet to meet, is to build a beautiful garden. A horticulturist is compelled to use gardening as a way of dealing with any strong emotion and grief is but one of them.

Although a garden was planned for the back yard of our tiny house, this just gives it added focus.  You can bet that extra care and thought, along with lots of love, will go into the design and planning stages, and also the building of it.

Work has begun on the Carsen Andrew Memorial GardenWork has begun on the Carsen Andrew Memorial Garden - can't do any work without a fire

This is one time that trying to save money might not be the best way to approach it.  I would love to spend a ton of cash, if it would just take the awful feelings of grief and loss away.  That also is the wrong way to go about it.

We have a lot of things that can be reused and given a new lease on life, instead of going to the landfill.  We feel very strongly about that, so many items from the bone pile will go into the making of the garden.

A memorial garden should be a place of tranquility and joy, with little thoughtful and whimsical touches that bring some peace and a few moments of appreciation for a life well lived, no matter how short.

Pre-house construction, showing the site of the garden...The site of the garden prior to the house being built - you can see the paving blocks waiting to be stacked up. These are what the trailer was set on

This picture shows the fundamental building blocks (the square pavers) that will be recycled into a patio area for the garden. 

With only enough to place them alternately, this will give me room in the spaces to plant some of my favorite succulents and other hardy plants. 

The house now sits where the black big foot forms are here.

Finally, they are emerging from under the snow...Finally, they are emerging from under the snow where they were stacked last fall when we moved the trailer

It's early April, and the snow is finally revealing the mess - all the construction on the house came to a grinding halt as we rushed to make it habitable, and everything outside was abandoned where it lay and was covered in snow. 

Now it's time to reassess, and start taking some measurements.

View facing east from the porch of the house...View facing east from the porch of the house - you can see the Rill (a formal stream or brook)

Standing on the porch of the house, and looking east towards the Eggporeum...

...and looking the other way towards the house......and looking the other way towards the house...

and standing below the Eggporeum and looking west towards the house.  I particularly like how Bracken gets into both pictures...

The beginnings of the checkerboardThe beginnings of the checkerboard - the piece of metal is actually an old bed frame - nothing is wasted!

Everything gets recycled - from old bedframes and other pieces of metal, to the paving blocks.

The start of the rock retaining wallThe start of the rock retaining wall which runs from the Eggporeum to close to the house
The rock retaining wall completedThe rock retaining wall completed and backfilled with compost and fast draining soil
Planted with vegetablesPlanted with vegetables that have a special association with Andrew, a lifelong gardener who loved to grow brassicas

The end of April shows a vast improvement...

Things are happening now - the snow is gone, and the ground is perfect for digging.  This is a project that is solely done by hand, with a potato rake, shovels and a wheelbarrow and a hand truck for moving the pavers.

The rickety porch is no longer; dismantled, recycled or burnt in the outside bonfire.

Joyce pitching in to contribute some rakingJoyce pitching in to contribute some raking - even into her 80's

Joyce came to visit later in the summer and contributed to the project.  She's Andrews widow, and Carsens Great Granma.

Taking the orientation of the Eggporeum for a guide...Taking the orientation of the Eggporeum for a guide because there is no other place to start without it all looking completely unrelated

The orientation of the Eggporeum creates a courtyard of pavers, which will be planted with low growing hardy succulents of all kinds, and thyme to make a green sward and soften the hard lines of the pavers.

The labyrinth...The labyrinth is often found in gardens as a motif, and depicts the twisting and winding trail of life

Another commonly found motif in memorial gardens is the labyrinth.  Often used as a synonym for maze, this is different. 

It can come in many different designs, most often in the Greek key type, but this one is slightly different and uses the native flat rocks found in leveling the area.


We've found that this peaceful little area is also used for passing from one area (the house) to another (the mercantile), and it's also where the washing line is.  This makes it an integral part of our little homestead, not just left abandoned.




The plants that I will choose for this garden are outlined here

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