"I once had an editor at the LA Times who was known for reminding writers to refer to important people at the top of our stories. "Names make news!" he would bark. Well, with wildflowers, names make good reading. You sure did educate this reader with this post. Boneset. I love it."
That comment was left by Lee May last year on my post about native boneset and I consider it one of the most inspiring comments I have received. Lee May passed away last Wednesday after a brief battle with cancer. He covered the White House, Presidential campaigns, and all manner of events around the world as a journalist for the Los Angeles Times and served on the editorial board of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was a wonderful and witty writer and that's why his comment meant so much to me. If Lee May thought I had composed a good post then it must have been very good indeed.
The fact that Lee May visited my blog and took time to comment amazed me. I began enjoying his magazine articles in the 1990s after he left journalism to follow his passion and become a garden writer. His witty, thoughtful essays were about much more than gardening, they were about the "garden of life" as he so aptly put it.
Along the way I began reading more on the internet and buying fewer magazines and, other than his appearances on Victory Garden, I lost track of him for a while. So it was with great delight I spotted a comment from Lee May on Casa Mariposa and followed the link to Lee May's Gardening Life where he blogged about his garden and life in Connecticut. I left a comment, he responded by leaving a comment on my blog. I thought he was very kind. He messaged me on Facebook, curious about how I had discovered his blog. When I wrote back I added how cool it was that I could just leave a comment on his blog when his writing inspired me instead of the clunky old process of letters to the editor and he agreed. The last post on his blog mentions that those communications with readers were his favorite part of blogging.
When his Connecticut garden appeared in Country Gardens magazine I made sure to buy a copy even though I rarely buy magazines these days.
He loved rocks and all sorts of things in the garden.
This photo of the old bed in the garden inspired me to try a "garden bed" myself.
I had this old bed frame kicking around and I wasn't too sure that I should do a "garden bed" until I saw the one in his garden.
He added plenty of what he called "Do-Dads" all around his garden. I loved the idea, yet I hesitated until I began reading his blog and his post on "Big Momma's Garden". If Lee May, whose gardens have appeared in magazines like Southern Accents, placed bottles and other fun stuff in the garden then I could too.
By the time the Country Gardens article appeared he and Lyn had moved to Marietta, Georgia near Atlanta and he began working on a new garden which I enjoyed following. Then, all too soon, he left us. When I read the sad news my thoughts turned to my own garden and how he had inspired me.
He especially loved placing stones in the garden. I had collected some flat stones to make a stack of stones similar to his (as shown below from the article in Country Gardens).
I worked on my version a little today. It's not quite right but I will keep at it until it is. It will remind me of all the wonderful gardening inspiration Lee May gave us over the years.
Note: More on Lee May's life in the Atlanta Journal Constitution at this link.
You've written a lovely and thoughtful memorial, Shirley.ReplyDelete
Thank you Kris, I just had to put my thoughts down.Delete
Hi Shirley: This is a wonderful tribute to Lee. I felt the same way about his very thoughtful comments. When he mentioned several months back that he was going to give his blog a break, I was sad because it had become one of my favorite ones to visit. I was happy when he started back up again, but very sad to hear that he was ill, and then had passed, which is a big loss to the garden writing community, and others who knew him, I'm sure. I imagine him smiling about your tribute and your stone tower.ReplyDelete
I had those same experiences reading his blog.Delete
What a lovely tribute, Shirley, both your words and your garden. I am unfamiliar with Lee's work, and I'm sorry I missed the chance to know him online during his blogging years. Hopefully his blog will live on and continue to inspire others.ReplyDelete
Thank you Pam, we should enjoy them for a long time.Delete
I only caught up with him near the end but loved reading what he wrote, thank you for educating me a little more about what a great man he was.ReplyDelete
He truly was.Delete
That's a beautiful tribute Shirley to a very talented guy that has inspired so many gardeners. And you'll have that lovely thought that ha has read your blog :)ReplyDelete
His comments here will continue to inspire.Delete
Oh, Shirley! I've just spent an hour looking at Lee May's blog and even though I'd never heard of him before, I miss him now! What a wonderful gardener and writer he was. Thank you for introducing him to me.ReplyDelete
That's a very special thing about his blog so you can go back and enjoy it all.Delete
I am very sad to hear that Lee May has left us. I discovered his blog through yours, and since then I've spent many hours admiring his quiet writing and bold installations. I too felt that if Lee May could employ ordinary and at times kitschy items in such extraordinary ways that it was fine for me to get a little more whimsical out in my own spaces. His approach was inspiring, as was his writing style, and I'm grateful both to him and to you, for "introducing" me. Rest in peace Lee May.ReplyDelete
Deb, this is truly special to know you discovered his blog in much the same way I did.Delete
What a delightful story. I marvel at how much the internet has enriched our lives. There are so many wonderful things out there and I regret that I did not find his blog. He certainly brought inspiration into your life and garden.ReplyDelete
It is amazing how much we have access to that was not available before. He did inspire so many gardeners over the years.Delete
A lovely retrospective and fitting memorial. I'm familiar with his work. He'll be missed.ReplyDelete
Thank you Tina, I did my best to put my thoughts down and he will be missed.Delete
Beautiful tribute to a great gardener and writer!ReplyDelete
His blog is wonderful to read and remember.Delete
Lovely!!! I didn't know this gardener. Thanks for discover him to me, now I want know more of his job.ReplyDelete
You will enjoy his wonderful writing Monica.Delete
I am so sad to hear he passed. I had no idea he was ill. What a wonderful blog he had.ReplyDelete
It was quite sudden and he only posted about it twice.Delete
What a wonderful tribute to this incredible man....I remember the Country Gardens article and loved it too...I was sad to hear of Lee's passing.ReplyDelete
It was sad and I know so many of his readers will miss his insightful musings on gardening and life.Delete