Brad and I worked together on a very special project this past year. Each season, another layer of progress was accomplished.
Similar to healing, heart projects do not happen all at once.
The project I am referring to is my mom's memorial area which began with her tree planting and bench unveiling on the first Mother's Day without her here with us on earth (2022).
It has become such a special serene place for us.
This area is the first thing you see when you get to the bend of our long driveway.
The memorial area is not about the bench perse. It is about connection. Spiritual and otherwise. Feelings of remembrance, joy, sorrow, natures awe and inspiration. To name just a few.
It brings out all the feels.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Monarch and Bubble bee
sharing late season zinnias
Late Summer, a Berry White Hydrangea was planted (pink blooms above). My mother had a prolific white one growing in her backyard. It is my first time growing Hydrangeas. Fingers crossed.
Zinnias grown from collected seeds
The flower pots also had overwintered Calla Lilies.
They bloom before zinnias.
I thought Spring crocus named Remembrance would be a perfect way to add early season color. My plan is to naturalize low profile early blooming bulbs in the general area. Brad reminded me, he will have to work the area up in order to plant grass.
Over the Summer, the bench stayed on a pallet so it could be moved with the bobcat.
I asked Brad if we could stamp the concrete base with actual leaves.
Poor Brad. I always ask for the unusual. Which translates as complicated. I never do things the easy way. Not intentional, it is just how I am wired. After all these years together, my requests no longer surprise him. Brad is more practical and we balance each other out. Stamping concrete is nothing new to him, but stamping with leaves is. He said yes, we could try :))
My mom loved trees. I think in part because she grew up with very few of them. She was born and raised in a big city (Madrid, Spain) where few trees grow in selective areas. In addition, the Fall month of September is both her month of birth and death.
I went on a mission collecting whatever leaves I could find that still had pliable life. It was slim pickings this late in the season. I noticed some semi-vibrant Maple leaves in our woods, high above on branches. Maple leaves have a distinct shape. I thought they would work great.
I remembered the three Maples we planted a few years ago along our driveway and was happy to find they still had a few leaves. I climbed a ladder and plucked the few remaining leaves. No doubt my neighbors (rightfully so) thought I was nuts. The wind was whipping and there I was on a ladder collecting leaves.
For weeks, I kept all the collected leaves in plastic bags with moist paper towels. Waiting for the "concrete stars" to align. And they did.
Brad finishing the concrete base
A few of the Maple & Oak leaves were gently pressed into the concrete, after it formed up for a while. We left them in overnight and Brad carefully removed the leaves in the morning. The imprints turned out just as I had imagined!
My mom would have loved the many detailed reminders of her…in disbelief she would have said "all this for me?". To which I would have replied, “Yes mom. All this, and SO much more love ~ all for you”.
Mom's memorial area will be considered completed, when Brad plants grass in the Spring. Making it feel more connected to us, instead of a separate island area.
I really wanted to add something during the Winter months. Brad made more of my wishes happen. We added 3 trees that light up on each side!
We are considering adding a water feature of some kind in the future. Perhaps a stand alone rock bubbler, or a ground stream that flows to another water feature. If you know me at all, then you know the aura of water is an important part of what fuels me. Adding year round flowing water or a large wildlife pond somewhere on our property has always been on our original wish list. Perhaps someday. Or not. I am totally okay, either way. It is nice to dream.
We were so surprised!! I will have to get a better photo with my camera.
My mothers memorial area is so healing just the way it is. Love can be felt, in every season.