Gardening and love

Gardening and love
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Flower rainbow courtesy of Shutterstock

As family members waited at Orlando’s Beardall Senior Center to hear about their loved ones, a couple of women who lived nearby realized why all the cars were there and went around leaving flowers (carnations) and  messages (we love you) under their windshield wipers. A small act of grace in the midst of so much horror.

Flowers often have bit parts in scenes of conflict. Carnations were put in the gun barrels of National Guardsmen during a 1967 peace march, as was famously documented by photographer Bernie Boston. In the poem, “Flanders Field,” poppies remain after the carnage is over. And at impromptu memorials after every tragedy, flowers are heaped high. Similar to the rainbow flag, they are vivid, defiant—if fragile—symbols of life and happiness.

It’s easy to despair, or hate. It’s also easy to turn away, to bury yourself in your private concerns. Many people, however, including all who are helping the Orlando victims and families, are going in the direction I would choose—love and unity. Just a week ago, I watched one of Buffalo’s most vibrant, unifying celebrations, Pride, march through my neighborhood; I am sure many of you have witnessed great Pride events in your own towns. That solidarity and fearlessness needs to continue.

In my community of friends, we bond over gardening, with LGBT gardeners leading the way. (It’s just the truth.) On the Sunday after Orlando, I was in the garden of two wonderful friends, mock protesting as they pressed me to take some of their extra plants. For all three of us, the positive act of creating such beauty as we could—and supporting other living creatures by doing so—was helping to outweigh the sadness. Just helping, because nothing can erase it.

Posted by

Elizabeth Licata
on June 14, 2016 at 8:07 am, in the category Shut Up and Dig.


    • Susan
    • 9th November 2015

    Powerful, Elizabeth. Thank you.

    • LeAnn
    • 13th November 2015

    This is beautiful, thank you. I always go to the power of the pansy. Are you familiar with the Pansy Project?

    • admin
    • 10th October 2016

    Beautiful. Thank you.

    • Jeff Minnich
    • 6th November 2016

    Thank you.

    • Saxon Holt
    • 12th November 2016

    Y’know something ? I am pretty tired of: ” “Let’s love one another and have solidarity with the victims. Let us now pray.” Thats’ pretty easy.

    • Eliz
    • 12th November 2016

    Not mutually exclusive.

    • Eliz
    • 14th November 2016

    Love it, LeAnn!

    • Layanee
    • 15th November 2016

    Solace is found in a garden with friends. Well said, Elizabeth.

    • Christine Nelson
    • 15th November 2016

    Well said. Thank you for connecting gardening with the painful, emotional issues of our time. And great photo!

    • Chris Baswell
    • 15th November 2016

    I’m with Saxon Holt. Comfort is important; but so is action.

    • Yolanda Vanveen
    • 15th November 2016

    It would be a sweet gesture to continue with love in the gardening world. Hate is not the answer or harassing certain groups. By deleting posts that encourage exclusion of entire gardening segments -posts including “Ehow Go Away” and “What we think of Master Gardeners taking our paid jobs” we can have hope for the future. Change must start at a grass roots level. Please delete old posts that still encourage hate and bullying. There is room for everyone xo

    • Simon Eade
    • 15th November 2016

    Hi Elizabeth, and great post. I was wondering if you would be interested in swapping with my garden directory. You can visit it at I look forward to hearing form you. KInd regards, Simon

    • Mr Bill
    • 16th November 2016

    Great photo. Very nice to show support for such a tragedy.

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