"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.