Wednesday, August 09, 2017

In Memory of Lyn and Her Garden

Lyn Gaylord 

It’s hard to think of Lyn without thinking of her garden. It was the manifestation of her creative vision, her relentless work ethic, and her indomitable spirit. It was her last thought as she drifted off to sleep at night and her first thought on waking in the morning. Her day began at or before dawn with a walk through the garden. 

Lyn’s garden marked the seasons and became the rhythm of her life. Spring was ushered in with yellow magnolia blossoms, hellebores, trillium, snowdrops, a vibrant display of tulips, and pots of pansies that beckoned passersby. In June roses burst forth—reds, pinks, and whites, mixed with deep purple clematis and lacy white elder. Summer ripened with magenta phlox, orange day lilies, and stands of yellow coreopsis. Fall’s presence was felt with the deepened rose color of the oak leaf hydrangea flowers and late winter brought the vivid yellow blossoms on her exuberant witch hazel. 

Lyn kept notes, wrote lists, and made schedules. Days were set aside for pruning, starting seeds, planting bulbs, and transplanting.  Her garden reflected her boundless curiosity. She raised beds, made berms, and built fences. She was always on the lookout for new plants and techniques. She kept bees. For a while, she had a bog. She learned from books and magazines, classes and workshops, and garden visits and conversations. She shared her knowledge teaching classes in her garden and beyond. 

Her garden was a gift to the neighborhood and a gift to herself. It was the place where she could connect with her best memories of childhood—picking and eating warm juicy tomatoes that had been sprinkled with salt stored in a fencepost with her Pop. It was the place where she could channel her prodigious energy and will, where the difficulties of a woman making her way in a man’s world held no ground. It was the place that offered her tranquility while she staked her “intense personal claim.” Her life was made richer by her garden as our lives have been made richer by her presence. 

My mother-in-law Lyn Gaylord passed away on August 7, 2017 in Seattle, Wa. Her garden was in Jamaica Plain, MA where it lives on with new owners. Martha Brookes Hutcheson, quoted above, was the designer of the formal garden at Maudslay State Park, a favorite spot for us to visit with Lyn here in Newburyport.


Mo Crow said...

such a beautiful tribute to a great gardener!

Anora said...

You truly captured Grandma Lyn. Thank you Susan.

Nancy Hajeski said...

I'm so sorry to hear of her passing. She was one of my favorite people, right from the first time I met her, when she was selling Volvos. A salty dame and a gardener, exactly what I wanted to be when I reached "a certain age." I know she will be missed by many, but it is reassuring that her garden endures.

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