In a vase for Clare


This post is inspired by Cathy’s meme, In a Vase on Monday, but I am not linking in to it because my thoughts today have a more personal, rather than a horticultural, inspiration.

Do go over and see everyone’s vases, they are bound to be beautiful.

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A small group of us in north-eastern France had a very special friend called Clare who passed away last week at the age of only 67.

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Clare taught me many things about giving and loving. Her last words to me on 30 June were: ‘I want to come and see the garden!’

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That’s a huge and very special gift from one gardener to another … like musicians, we work all on our own, trying to create something that may never be appreciated by someone else.

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But we are unstoppable nonetheless! The strangeness of the inspired human being ..

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Last week was a turbulent week, wasn’t it? As we watched the Bastille Day fireworks from the garden of friends in Haute-Saône, little did we know of the horror that was taking place in Nice. Poor France. Hollande is correct – we are truly at war.

These  events have been a reminder to me (and I often need one!) that we need to hug our loved ones close today, because there may be no tomorrow.


I picked my first really big bunch of sweet peas last week (late, because of our season). They were simply gorgeous. I gave some to Clare, and I’m giving the rest to you – my friends in north-eastern France, in memory of our very special friend. I just want her picture on my (very public) diary …

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18 thoughts on “In a vase for Clare

  1. Sam

    A beautiful vase and lovely words. I’m very sorry to read about your friend. These are indeed dark times and we need brightness all the more. x

  2. sweetpeasandsavory

    Very wisely said, Cathy. I think sweet peas also fit the occasion, because they are just so intense, but fleeting (if that makes sense in English, which is not my native language). What I mean: They do not last in vases, and their scents often really depend on the weather, but when they appear, they are very much *here and now* and cannot be ignored. So they seem to epitomize life. In Germany, we use white double chrysanthemums for funerals. I do not know the historical reason for this, but instinctively I would say: because they are everything a sweet pea is not.

  3. Cathy

    What a poignant and heartfelt post, Cathy, and such beautiful sweet peas to accompany it. A real tribute to your friend Clare and her life. May you forever have your memories of her

  4. AnnetteM

    That was a lovely tribute to your friend Clare. Sweet peas are my favourite flowers. I picked my first flowers just today – not a big bunch but the scent in the kitchen was wonderful. A lovely flower to remember your friend by.

  5. bittster

    So sorry for the loss of your friend, 67 is far too early. It’s obvious she touched many lives and will live on through them but the flowers are a beautiful remembrance as well.

  6. Meta van der Stelt

    What a beautiful tribute to Clare. Love the pictures. Lathyrus (the Dutch name) for sweat peas are my favourite flowers. I always try to grow them but never succeed.

  7. Christina

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend, your tribute is beautiful both the words and the flowers. We live on very dark times and personally I feel very fortunate that most of my life has been lived in a relatively peaceful world, I don’t feel that the future will be as tranquil. One of my reasons for being so upset by the result of the referendum is that I feel we are at a point in time when all of Europe should be united against a common threat.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Hi Christina – I am so left behind with the blog and specifically not replying to the Clare comments. But I just felt I wanted to say how much I agree with you about Europe. And I was so proud that Scotland voted to remain!


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